AIE macromolecules: syntheses, structures and functionalities
Macromolecules with aggregation-induced emission (AIE) attributes are a class of luminescent materials that display enhanced emission when they are aggregated. They have attracted much attention because of their good solubility, processability, high emission efficiency in the aggregated states, etc. A large variety of AIE macromolecules have been developed, showing exponential growth of research interest in this field. This review summarizes the design principles and recent synthetic advancements, topological structures, as well as the frontiers of functionalities and potential applications of AIE macromolecules, especially fluorescence sensing, biological applications and optoelectronic applications, with an emphasis on the recent progress. New luminogenic systems without conventional chromophores displaying aggregated state emission are discussed. The highly dense clusters of heteroatoms with lone pair electrons in these systems may serve as the chromophore and are cited as “heterodox clusters”. It is expected that the mechanistic insights into the AIE phenomena, based on the restriction of intramolecular motions and structure rigidification, can guide the future design of AIE materials with fascinating structures and functionalities.