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Insoluble porous conjugated polymer films via phase separation and photo-crosslinking for the trace detection of 2,4-dinitrotoluene


Correspondence to: Wenhui Wu, School of Materials Science and Engineering,

Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing 100081, China. E-mail:


A novel conjugated polymer film with microscale/submicroscale porous morphology fabricated from crosslinked poly(fluorene-co-carbazole) (PFC1) was developed for the detection of 2,4-dinitrotoluene (DNT). The fluorescent conjugated polymer PFC1 with pendant photo-crosslinkable coumarin groups was synthesized by Suzuki coupling polymerization. Taking advantage of the phase separation of PFC1/polystyrene (PS) blends in the film and the solvent-resistant network, porous structured films were prepared by removal of PS. Films with porous morphologies exhibited marked responsive sensitivity to trace DNT vapor due to the unique porous structure favoring the diffusion of and association with DNT molecules. The formation of a crosslinked network by dimerization of the coumarin moieties may be beneficial for isolating the polymeric backbones, thus to some extent preventing chain aggregation. This facile fabrication method enabled the crosslinked porous films to be efficient fluorescence chemosensors towards the detection of trace amounts of DNT vapor.© 2012 Society of Chemical Industry