Terbium complexes encapsulated in hierarchically organized hybrid MOF particles toward stable luminescence in aqueous media†
Hierarchically organized hybrid MOF particles were developed to meet the stable luminescence requirements of lanthanide complexes for applications in biological media. Anionic terbium (Tb) complexes sensitized by tridentate pyridine-tetrazolate (pytz) ligands (i.e. Tb(pytz)3) were encapsulated in zeolitic imidazolate framework-8 (ZIF-8) nanoparticles (∼150 nm). TIF-1Zn (Zn(DMBIM)2) frameworks were then hybridized with ZIF-8 by the mediation of a hydrophobic ligand, i.e. DMBIM (5,6-dimethylbenzimidazole). A bio-inspired polymer, i.e. polydopamine, was utilized for imparting the particles with hydrophilicity and functionalization ability. An unprecedentedly high quantum yield (82.0%) and luminescence stability in PBS buffer were realized by the hierarchical structure.