Modeling of multiresonant thermally activated delayed fluorescence emitters─properly accounting for electron correlation is key!

David Hall, Juan Carlos Sancho-García, Anton Pershin, Gaetano Ricci, David Beljonne, Eli Zysman-Colman*, Yoann Olivier*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)
9 Downloads (Pure)


With the surge of interest in multiresonant thermally activated delayed fluorescent (MR-TADF) materials, it is important that there exist computational methods to accurately model their excited states. Here, building on our previous work, we demonstrate how the spin-component scaling second-order approximate coupled-cluster (SCS-CC2), a wavefunction-based method, is robust at predicting the ΔEST (i.e., the energy difference between the lowest singlet S1 and triplet T1 excited states) of a large number of MR-TADF materials, with a mean average deviation (MAD) of 0.04 eV compared to experimental data. Time-dependent density functional theory calculations with the most common DFT functionals as well as the consideration of the Tamm-Dancoff approximation (TDA) consistently predict a much larger ΔEST as a result of a poorer account of Coulomb correlation as compared to SCS-CC2. Very interestingly, the use of a metric to assess the importance of higher order excitations in the SCS-CC2 wavefunctions shows that Coulomb correlation effects are substantially larger in the lowest singlet compared to the corresponding triplet and need to be accounted for a balanced description of the relevant electronic excited states. This is further highlighted with coupled cluster singles-only calculations, which predict very different S1 energies as compared to SCS-CC2 while T1 energies remain similar, leading to very large ΔEST, in complete disagreement with the experiments. We compared our SCS-CC2/cc-pVDZ with other wavefunction approaches, namely, CC2/cc-pVDZ and SOS-CC2/cc-pVDZ leading to similar performances. Using SCS-CC2, we investigate the excited-state properties of MR-TADF emitters showcasing large ΔET2T1 for the majority of emitters, while π-electron extension emerges as the best strategy to minimize ΔEST. We also employed SCS-CC2 to evaluate donor–acceptor systems that contain a MR-TADF moiety acting as the acceptor and show that the broad emission observed for some of these compounds arises from the solvent-promoted stabilization of a higher-lying charge-transfer singlet state (S2). This work highlights the importance of using wavefunction methods in relation to MR-TADF emitter design and associated photophysics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4903-4918
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Chemical Theory and Computation
Issue number8
Early online date5 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished - 9 Aug 2022


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