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Issue 9, 2013
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Fluorescent pH sensor constructed from a heteroatom-containing luminogen with tunable AIE and ICT characteristics

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Abstract

A heteroatom-containing organic fluorophore 1-(4-pyridinyl)-1-phenyl-2-(9-carbazolyl)ethene (CP3E) was designed and synthesized. CP3E exhibits the effect of intramolecular charge transfer (ICT) caused by the donor–acceptor interaction between its carbazole and pyridine units. Whereas it emits faintly in solution, it becomes a strong emitter in the aggregated state, demonstrating the phenomenon of aggregation-induced emission (AIE). Its emission can be reversibly switched between blue and dark states by repeated protonation and deprotonation. Such behaviour enables it to work as a fluorescent pH sensor in both solution and the solid state and as a chemosensor for detecting acidic and basic organic vapors. Analyses by NMR spectroscopy, single-crystal X-ray diffraction and computational calculations suggest that the change in electron affinity of the pyridinyl unit and molecular conformation of CP3E upon protonation and deprotonation is responsible for such sensing processes.

Graphical abstract: Fluorescent pH sensor constructed from a heteroatom-containing luminogen with tunable AIE and ICT characteristics

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Publication details

The article was received on 08 Mar 2013, accepted on 05 Jul 2013 and first published on 05 Jul 2013


Article type: Edge Article
DOI: 10.1039/C3SC50648G
Citation: Chem. Sci., 2013,4, 3725-3730

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    Fluorescent pH sensor constructed from a heteroatom-containing luminogen with tunable AIE and ICT characteristics

    Z. Yang, W. Qin, J. W. Y. Lam, S. Chen, H. H. Y. Sung, I. D. Williams and B. Z. Tang, Chem. Sci., 2013, 4, 3725
    DOI: 10.1039/C3SC50648G

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