TADF-Based X-ray Screens with Simultaneously Efficient Singlet and Triplet Energy Transfer for High Spatial Imaging Resolution

by Shorooq A. Alomar, Jian-Xin Wang, Luis Gutiérrez-Arzaluz, Simil Thomas, Husam N. Alshareef, Osman M. Bakr, Mohamed Eddaoudi, Omar F. Mohammed
Year: 2023 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1021/acsami.3c05675


X-ray imaging scintillators play a crucial role in medical examinations and safety inspections, making them an essential technology in our modern lives. However, commercially available high-performance scintillators are fabricated exclusively from ceramic materials that require harsh preparation conditions and are costly to produce. Organic scintillators have emerged as a promising alternative due to their transparency and ease of fabrication at a low cost. Unfortunately, organic scintillators suffer from inefficient exciton utilization efficiency, leading to poor performance in X-ray imaging screens and hindering their commercialization. In this study, we explore the use of thermally activated delayed fluorescence (TADF) chromophores (4CzIPN-I and 4CzTPN) to enhance the absorption of ionizing radiation in X-ray imaging screens by an order of magnitude. By leveraging the unique features of TADF chromophores through simultaneously singlet–singlet and triplet–triplet efficient energy transfers at the interface between two different TADF systems, we demonstrate an impressive X-ray sensitivity and radioluminescence intensity. Our time-resolved experiments and density functional theory (DFT) calculations provide further evidence for the effectiveness of this approach. The resulting X-ray imaging screens based on this efficient interfacial energy transfer process in TADF systems exhibit outstanding X-ray imaging resolution of 20 line pairs/mm, the highest resolution reported thus far for organic scintillators. This resolution is at least two times higher than that achieved by commonly used commercial inorganic scintillators in the X-ray imaging market. These findings introduce a new component for greatly improving the performance of organic X-ray imaging scintillators, supporting a wide range of emerging X-ray applications with exceptional spatial resolution.