Photofunctional triplet excited states of cyclometalated Ir(iii) complexes: Beyond electroluminescence

Youngmin You, Wonwoo Nam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

585 Citations (Scopus)


The development of cyclometalated Ir(iii) complexes has enabled important breakthroughs in electroluminescence because such complexes permit the efficient population of triplet excited states that give rise to luminescent transitions. The triplet states of Ir(iii) complexes are advantageous over those of other transition metal complexes in that their electronic transitions and charge-transfer characteristics are tunable over wide ranges. These favorable properties suggest that Ir(iii) complexes have significant potential in a variety of photofunctions other than electroluminescence. In this critical review, we describe recent photonic applications of novel Ir(iii) complexes. Ir(iii) complexes have been shown to affect the exciton statistics in the active layers of organic photovoltaic cells, thereby improving the photon-to-current conversion efficiencies. Nonlinear optical applications that take advantage of the strong charge-transfer properties of triplet transitions are also discussed. The tunability of the electrochemical potentials facilitates the development of efficient photocatalysis in the context of water photolysis or organic syntheses. The photoredox reactivities of Ir(iii) complexes have been employed in studies of charge migration along DNA chains. The photoinduced cytotoxicity of Ir(iii) complexes on live cells suggests that the complexes may be useful in photodynamic therapy. Potential biological applications of the complexes include phosphorescence labeling and sensing. Intriguing platforms based on cyclometalated Ir(iii) complexes potentially provide novel protein tagging and ratiometric detection. We envision that future research into the photofunctionality of Ir(iii) complexes will provide important breakthroughs in a variety of photonic applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7061-7084
Number of pages24
JournalChemical Society reviews
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Oct 8

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry


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