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Keywords:

  • aggregation-induced emission;
  • electroluminescence;
  • explosives;
  • chemosensors;
  • photoluminescence

Abstract

Benzene-cored luminogens with multiple triarylvinyl units are designed and synthesized. These propeller-shaped molecules are nonemissive when dissolved in good solvents, but become highly emissive when aggregated in poor solvents or in the solid state, showing the novel phenomenon of aggregation-induced emission. Restriction of intramolecular motion is identified as the main cause for this effect. Thanks to their high solid-state fluorescence quantum yields (up to unity) and high thermal and morphological stabilities, light-emitting diodes with the luminogens as emitters give sky-blue to greenish-blue light in high luminance and efficiencies of 10800 cd m−2, 5.8 cd A−1, and 2.7%, respectively. The emissions of the nanoaggregates of the luminogens can be quenched exponentially by picric acid, or selectively by Ru3+, with quenching constants up to 105 and ∼2.0 × 105 L mol−1, respectively, making them highly sensitive (and selective) chemosensors for explosives and metal ions.