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Unusual Salt-Induced Color Modulation through Aggregation-Induced Emission Switching of a Bis-cationic Phenylenedivinylene-Based π Hydrogelator

Authors

  • Prof. Dr. Santanu Bhattacharya,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Organic Chemistry, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore 560012, Karnataka (India), Fax: (+91) 80-23600529
    2. Chemical Biology Unit, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore 560064, Jakkur (India)
    • Department of Organic Chemistry, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore 560012, Karnataka (India), Fax: (+91) 80-23600529
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  • Dr. Suman K. Samanta

    1. Department of Organic Chemistry, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore 560012, Karnataka (India), Fax: (+91) 80-23600529
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Abstract

The synthesis, hydrogelation, and aggregation-induced emission switching of the phenylenedivinylene bis-N-octyl pyridinium salt is described. Hydrogelation occurs as a consequence of π-stacking, van der Waals, and electrostatic interactions that lead to a high gel melting temperature and significant mechanical properties at a very low weight percentage of the gelator. A morphology transition from fiber-to-coil-to-tube was observed depending on the concentration of the gelator. Variation in the added salt type, salt concentrations, or temperature profoundly influenced the order of aggregation of the gelator molecules in aqueous solution. Formation of a novel chromophore assembly in this way leads to an aggregation-induced switch of the emission colors. The emission color switches from sky blue to white to orange depending upon the extent of aggregation through mere addition of external inorganic salts. Remarkably, the salt effect on the assembly of such cationic phenylenedivinylenes in water follow the behavior predicted from the well-known Hofmeister effects. Mechanistic insights for these aggregation processes were obtained through the counterion exchange studies. The aggregation-induced emission switching that leads to a room-temperature white-light emission from a single chromophore in a single solvent (water) is highly promising for optoelectronic applications.

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