Multistate electrically controlled photoluminescence switching†
Reversibly fluorescent switchable materials have important applications in the fields of ultrahigh-density optical data storage, molecular switches, logic gates, molecular wires, optical/electronic devices, sensors, bioimaging and so on. Some systems have been developed based on smart luminescent polymers and organic photoswitchable molecules. However, the use of such materials for practical applications is dramatically restricted by their intrinsic drawbacks such as low ON/OFF ratios, irreversibility and poor environmental resistance. An imperative challenge toward real applications is to design and fabricate photoluminescence switching devices with high on/off contrast and fast response time, and especially to obtain multicolored systems, in which the photoluminescence wavelength can be easily tuned in the visible region. Here we report the first inorganic example of a multicolored photoluminescence switching system by controlling the organization of crown-type polyoxometalates (POMs) and CdSe@CdS core–shell quantum dots (QDs) into the layer-by-layer (LBL) nanostructures. The photoluminescence of this system can be switched on and off reversibly upon application of step potentials for different redox states, owing to the energy transfer between reduced POMs and QDs. This system displays a quick response (off 17 s, on 38 s), high on/off contrast (∼91%), good cycling performance (the modulation ratio is only decreased by 19% after 200 cycles) and also has the advantage of low power consumption. Furthermore, reversible four-state fluorescence switching is realized by integrating different-sized QDs in one multifunctional system.