Developing red thermally activated delayed fluorescence (TADF) emitters, attainable for both high-efficient red organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) and non-doped deep red/near-infrared (NIR) OLEDs, is challenging. Now, two red emitters, BPPZ-PXZ and mDPBPZ-PXZ, with twisted donor–acceptor structures were designed and synthesized to study molecular design strategies of high-efficiency red TADF emitters. BPPZ-PXZ employs the strictest molecular restrictions to suppress energy loss and realizes red emission with a photoluminescence quantum yield (ΦPL) of 100±0.8 % and external quantum efficiency (EQE) of 25.2 % in a doped OLED. Its non-doped OLED has an EQE of 2.5 % owing to unavoidable intermolecular π–π interactions. mDPBPZ-PXZ releases two pyridine substituents from its fused acceptor moiety. Although mDPBPZ-PXZ realizes a lower EQE of 21.7 % in the doped OLED, its non-doped device shows a superior EQE of 5.2 % with a deep red/NIR emission at peak of 680 nm.
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