A transparent film allowing tunable multicolor emission based on a composite of an organometallic compound and a cation-exchange membrane has been developed, in which the cyclometallated iridium(III) complex [IrIII (4Py-ppy)3] (=tris[2-(2-pyridinyl-κN)-4-(4-pyridinyl)phenyl-κC]iridium) (1) with pH-dependent emission wavelengths has been incorporated into Nafion by cation exchange. Soaking Nafion in the solution of 1 for 24 h and exposed to buffers at pH 2, 4, and 10 resulted in maximum emission wavelengths of 587, 560, and 503 nm, respectively. The photophysical properties of 1@Nafion were also enhanced, as its maximum emission wavelength was more blue-shifted than those of 602, 564, and 503 nm in the solutions. The emission quantum yields (Φ) and lifetimes (τ) of 1@Nafion prepared under an acidic condition were up to Φ = 1.8% and τ = 0.11, 0.92 µs, which are considerably higher than the corresponding solutions of Φ = 0.5% and τ = 0.02, 0.18 µs. This is attributed to the fact that 1 is surrounded by the polymer chains of Nafion and immobilized in a relatively rigid medium, which hinders non-radiative deactivation such as thermal relaxation.
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