A nonplanar derivative of perylene, 2,5,8,11-tetra-tertbutylperylene (TBPe), was synthesized via the Friedel–Crafts alkylation reaction. Electroluminescent (EL) devices were made using TBPe or perylene as a dopant in bis(2-methyl-8-quinolinolato)(para-phenylphenolato)aluminum(III) and their EL performance was compared. Similar to the device doped with the parent perylene molecule, the device doped with TBPe also emitted strongly in the blue. As the concentration of TBPe increased from 1% to 5%, the color coordinates in CIE 1931 chromaticity of the TBPe-doped device changed only slightly from (0.168,0.273) to (0.175,0.273), whereas the perylene-doped device exhibited a much larger shift from (0.165,0.196) to (0.178,0.252). The constancy of EL color and efficiency with respect to TBPe dopant concentration is attributable to diminishing molecular aggregation in the nonplanar perylene derivative, TBPe, due to the steric hindrance of the tert-butyl groups. © 1999 American Institute of Physics.