Aggregation-induced emission encoding supramolecular polymers based on controllable sulfonatocalixarene recognition in aqueous solution†
A pH-responsive supramolecular polymer based on a homoditopic bis-p-sulfonatocalixarene host and a tetraphenylethylene derivative guest as building blocks with aggregation-induced emission (AIE) property is fabricated in aqueous solution. Quite different from usual supramolecular polymers constructed before, this novel supramolecular polymer has high luminescence efficiency rather than becoming low-luminescent after polymerization. Interestingly, the AIE signals are switchable between two alternative emission wavelengths in H2O or with ON and OFF switching in the mixing H2O–THF = 1 : 1 solution, which are realized by controllable and reversible supramolecular interactions. This strategy to design supramolecular polymers with switchable AIE property overcomes the common problem of aggregation-caused quenching (ACQ) in usual supramolecular polymers and provides a new concept to develop smart supramolecular polymeric materials.