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Highly efficient luminescent side-chain polymers with short-spacer attached tetraphenylethylene AIEgens via RAFT polymerization capable of naked eye explosive detection

Abstract

Tetraphenylethylene (TPE) is one of the well-known typical aggregation-induced emission (AIE) luminogens (AIEgens), TPE-containing polymers possess excellent processing properties facilitating the fabrication of various AIE systems and devices. For AIE active side-chain polymers, increasing the fluorescence quantum yield through suitable molecular design is very appealing. In this work, we present the well-controlled synthesis of a series of TPE polyacrylate side-chain polymers of Pm with short spacers of methylene number m = 0–5 via RAFT polymerization, all thus obtained polymers exhibit typical and strong AIE characteristics in THF/H2O mixture solution and in solid state film. In particular, much enhanced fluorescence emission is achieved with reduced spacer lengths and further significant improvement through annealing, which is ascribed to restriction of intramolecular motions (RIM) and blocking the non-radiative channels due to overcrowding and confinement thanks to the strong positive coupling effect and jacketing effect of side-chain polymers with very short spacers. The quantum yields of 34.4%, 32.0% and 31.4%, respectively, for the polymer films of P0, P1 and P2 are several times higher than those of homologous polymers with longer spacers reported in the literature. Based on such TPE side-chain polymers of very short spacer, a simple, economic and visualized method for the explosive 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT) detection is demonstrated. Therefore, a facile approach and feasible strategy of simply adopting very short spacers for side-chain AIE active polymers preparation to significantly enhance the luminescence efficiency has been well established and reasonably proposed, which may provide guidance and have rich implications for the rational design and preparation of highly efficient luminescent AIE polymer materials.

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Publication details

The article was received on 09 May 2018, accepted on 30 Jun 2018 and first published on 02 Jul 2018


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C8PY00710A
Citation: Polym. Chem., 2018, Accepted Manuscript
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    Highly efficient luminescent side-chain polymers with short-spacer attached tetraphenylethylene AIEgens via RAFT polymerization capable of naked eye explosive detection

    Q. Li, X. Li, Z. Wu, Y. Sun, J. Fang and D. Chen, Polym. Chem., 2018, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C8PY00710A

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