Fluorescence based explosive detection: from mechanisms to sensory materials†
The detection of explosives is one of the current pressing concerns in global security. In the past few decades, a large number of emissive sensing materials have been developed for the detection of explosives in vapor, solution, and solid states through fluorescence methods. In recent years, great efforts have been devoted to develop new fluorescent materials with various sensing mechanisms for detecting explosives in order to achieve super-sensitivity, ultra-selectivity, as well as fast response time. This review article starts with a brief introduction on various sensing mechanisms for fluorescence based explosive detection, and then summarizes in an exhaustive and systematic way the state-of-the-art of fluorescent materials for explosive detection with a focus on the research in the recent 5 years. A wide range of fluorescent materials, such as conjugated polymers, small fluorophores, supramolecular systems, bio-inspired materials and aggregation induced emission-active materials, and their sensing performance and sensing mechanism are the centerpiece of this review. Finally, conclusions and future outlook are presented and discussed.