We demonstrate a facile route to obtain high and broad-band circular polarization of electroluminescence in single-layer polymer OLEDs. As a light-emitting material we use a donor–acceptor polyfluorene with enantiomerically pure chiral side-chains. We show that upon thermal annealing the polymer self-assembles into a multidomain cholesteric film. By varying the thickness of the polymer emitting layer, we achieve high levels of circular polarization of electroluminescence (up to 40% excess of right-handed polarization), which are the highest reported for polymer OLEDs not using chiral dopants or alignment layers. Mueller matrix ellipsometry shows strong optical anisotropies in the film, indicating that the circular polarization of luminescence arises mainly after the photon has been generated, through selective scattering and birefringence correlated in the direction of the initial linear polarization of the photon. Our work demonstrates that chirally substituted conjugated polymers can combine photonic and semiconducting properties in advanced optoelectronic devices.
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