Cost-efficient thin-film devices that emit in the near-infrared (NIR) range promise a wide range of important applications. Here, the synthesis and NIR application of a series of copolymers comprising poly[indacenodithieno[3,2-b]thiophene-2,8-diyl] (PIDTT) as the host and different donor–acceptor–donor (DAD) segments as the guest are reported. We find that a key design criterion for efficient solid-state host-to-guest energy transfer is that the DAD conformation is compatible with the conformation of the host. Such host–guest copolymers are evaluated as the emitter in light-emitting electrochemical cells (LECs) and organic light-emitting diodes, and the best performance is invariably attained from the LEC devices because of the observed balanced electrochemical doping that alleviates issues with a noncentered emission zone. An LEC device comprising a host–guest copolymer with 4,4-bis(2-ethylhexyl)-4H-silolo[3,2-b:4,5-b′]dithiophene as the donor and benzo[c][1,2,5]thiadiazole as the acceptor delivers an impressive near-infrared (NIR) performance in the form of a high radiance of 1458 μW/cm2 at a peak wavelength of 725 nm when driven by a current density of 500 mA/cm2, a second-fast turn-on, and a good stress stability as manifested in a constant radiance output during 3 days of uninterrupted operation. The high-molecular-weight copolymer features excellent processability, and the potential for low-cost and scalable NIR applications is verified through a spray-coating fabrication of a >40 cm2 large-area device, which emits intense and uniform NIR light at a low drive voltage of 4.5 V.
- large-area device
- light-emitting electrochemical cell
- solution processing