Jump to main content
Jump to site search

Issue 3, 2017
Previous Article Next Article

AIEgens for dark through-bond energy transfer: design, synthesis, theoretical study and application in ratiometric Hg2+ sensing

Author affiliations

Abstract

A novel dark through-bond energy transfer (DTBET) strategy is proposed and applied as the design strategy to develop ratiometric Hg2+ sensors with high performance. Tetraphenylethene (TPE) derivatives with aggregation-induced emission (AIE) characteristics are selected as dark donors to eliminate emission leakage from the donors. The TBET mechanism has been adopted since it experiences less influence from spectral overlapping than Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET), making it more flexible for developing cassettes with large pseudo-Stokes shifts. In this work, energy transfer from the TPE derivatives (dark donor) to a rhodamine moiety (acceptor) was illustrated through photophysical spectroscopic studies and the energy transfer efficiency (ETE) was found to be up to 99%. In the solution state, no emission from the donors was observed and large pseudo-Stokes shifts were achieved (>280 nm), which are beneficial for biological imaging. Theoretical calculations were performed to gain a deeper mechanistic insight into the DTBET process and the structure–property relationship of the DTBET cassettes. Ratiometric Hg2+ sensors were rationally constructed based on the DTBET mechanism by taking advantage of the intense emission of TPE aggregates. The Hg2+ sensors exhibited well resolved emission peaks. >6000-fold ratiometric fluorescent enhancement is also achieved and the detection limit was found to be as low as 0.3 ppb. This newly proposed DTBET mechanism could be used to develop novel ratiometric sensors for various analytes and AIEgens with DTBET characteristics will have great potential in various areas including light harvesting materials, environmental science, chemical sensing, biological imaging and diagnostics.

Graphical abstract: AIEgens for dark through-bond energy transfer: design, synthesis, theoretical study and application in ratiometric Hg2+ sensing

Back to tab navigation
Please wait while Download options loads

Supplementary files

Publication details

The article was received on 20 Sep 2016, accepted on 14 Nov 2016 and first published on 15 Nov 2016


Article type: Edge Article
DOI: 10.1039/C6SC04206F
Citation: Chem. Sci., 2017,8, 2047-2055
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY license
  •   Request permissions

    AIEgens for dark through-bond energy transfer: design, synthesis, theoretical study and application in ratiometric Hg2+ sensing

    Y. Chen, W. Zhang, Y. Cai, R. T. K. Kwok, Y. Hu, J. W. Y. Lam, X. Gu, Z. He, Z. Zhao, X. Zheng, B. Chen, C. Gui and B. Z. Tang, Chem. Sci., 2017, 8, 2047
    DOI: 10.1039/C6SC04206F

    This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Licence. Material from this article can be used in other publications provided that the correct acknowledgement is given with the reproduced material.

    Reproduced material should be attributed as follows:

    • For reproduction of material from NJC:
      [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) on behalf of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and the RSC.
    • For reproduction of material from PCCP:
      [Original citation] - Published by the PCCP Owner Societies.
    • For reproduction of material from PPS:
      [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) on behalf of the European Society for Photobiology, the European Photochemistry Association, and RSC.
    • For reproduction of material from all other RSC journals:
      [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry.

    Information about reproducing material from RSC articles with different licences is available on our Permission Requests page.

Search articles by author