All-or-none switching of photon upconversion in self-assembled organogel systems
Aggregation-induced photon upconversion (iPUC) based on a triplet–triplet annihilation (TTA) process is successfully developed via controlled self-assembly of donor–acceptor pairs in organogel nanoassemblies. Although segregation of donor from acceptor assemblies has been an outstanding problem in TTA-based UC and iPUC, we resolved this issue by modifying both the triplet donor and aggregation induced emission (AIE)-type acceptor with glutamate-based self-assembling moieties. These donors and acceptors co-assemble to form organogels without segregation. Interestingly, these donor–acceptor binary gels show upconversion at room temperature but the upconversion phenomena were lost upon dissolution of the gels on heating. The observed changes in TTA-UC emission were thermally reversible, reflecting the controlled assembly/disassembly of the binary molecular systems. The observed on/off ratio of UC emission was much higher than that of the aggregation-induced fluorescence of the acceptor, which highlights the important role of iPUC, i.e., multi-exciton TTA for photoluminescence switching. This work bridges iPUC and supramolecular chemistry and provides a new strategy for designing stimuli-responsive upconversion systems.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Aggregation Induced Emission