During the past decade, fluorescent chemosensors have become an important research field of supramolecular chemistry and have attracted great attention because of their simplicity, high selectivity and sensitivity in fluorescent assays. In the design of new fluorescent chemosensors, exploration of new sensing mechanisms between recognition and signal reporting units is of continuing interest. Based on different photophysical processes, conventional sensing mechanisms including photo-induced electron transfer (PET), intramolecular charge transfer (ICT), metal–ligand charge transfer (MLCT), twisted intramolecular charge transfer (TICT), electronic energy transfer (EET), fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET), and excimer/exciplex formation have been investigated and reviewed extensively in the literature. This tutorial review will mainly focus on new fluorescent sensing mechanisms that have emerged in the past five years, such as aggregation-induced emission (AIE) and CN isomerization, which can be ascribed to fluorescence changes via conformational restriction. In addition, excited-state intramolecular proton transfer (ESIPT) has not been well reviewed yet, although a number of chemosensors based on the ESIPT mechanism have been reported. Thus, ESIPT-based chemosensors have been also summarized in this review.
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