Once considered the exclusive property of metal complexes, the phenomenon of room-temperature phosphorescence (RTP) has been increasingly realized in pure organic luminophores recently. Using precise molecular design and synthetic approaches to modulate their weak spin–orbit coupling, highly active triplet excitons, and ultrafast deactivation, organic luminophores can be endowed with long-lived and bright RTP characteristics. This has sparked intense explorations into organic luminophores with enhanced RTP features for different applications. This Review discusses the fundamental mechanism of RTP in pure organic luminophores, followed by design principles, enhancement strategies, and formulation methods to achieve highly phosphorescent and long-lived organic RTP luminophores even in aqueous media. The current challenges and future directions of this field are also discussed in the summary and outlook.
Pure organic molecules displaying room-temperature phosphorescence (RTP) are a rapidly emerging class of luminophores. In this Review, the authors discuss the principles for their rational design and development, from the underlying photophysical mechanisms of organic RTP, to enhancement and processing strategies for their practical application.