A simple diamine (TetraPEDA) containing rigid nonplanar conjugated tetraphenylethylene (TetraPE) moieties was designed and synthesized through Wittig–Horner and Suzuki coupling reactions. Four kinds of high-performance functional polyimides (PI) were thus prepared by the polymerization of TetraPEDA and four dianhydrides, respectively. Because of the introduction of the aromatic rigid nonplanar TetraPE structure, the PI exhibited special fluorescent characteristics, as the maximum fluorescence emission of the four PI was observed at 425–505 nm in NMP solution and at 470–491 nm in film state. Also these organo-soluble PI showed outstanding properties, such as low dielectric constant (even without fluorinated substituent), light color, high glass transition temperatures (382–443 °C) and thermal stability in air (Td5% up to 565 °C), and excellent mechanical properties. The polymer memory devices with the configuration of indium tin oxide/PI/aluminum (ITO/PI/Al) exhibited distinct volatile memory characteristics of static random access memory, with an ON/OFF current ratio of 1 × 104 to 1 × 105. These functional PI showed attractive potential applications in the field of high performance flexible polymer photoconducting devices or fluorescent polymer memory devices. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Polym Sci Part A: Polym Chem, 2013
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