Rational design of red AIEgens with a new core structure from non-emissive heteroaromatics†
The development of new aggregation-induced emission (AIE) systems is a hot research topic, from which functional materials with diversified structures and properties are derived. Here, based on rare, non-emissive and highly electron-withdrawing heteroaromatics of 1,4,5,8-tetraazaanthracene (TAA), experimental and theoretical studies reveal that attaching phenyl rotors to TAA is crucial to creating a new N-type AIE core structure. Furthermore, by covalent attachment of electron-donating aromatic amines to the peripheries of the AIE core, red AIEgens could be obtained readily, which exhibit excellent photostability for long-term lysosome tracking. This work not only provides a new strategy to design heterocycle-containing AIEgens from non-emissive heteroaromatics but also stimulates more their applications as bio-imaging materials.