Perylene diimides: will they flourish as reaction-based probes?
Perylene diimides (PDI) are a well-studied class of functional organic dyes, and in recent years, they have been accepted as promising scaffolds for the design of small molecule/polymer-based chromogenic and fluorogenic reaction-based-probes because of their strong absorption combined with high fluorescence quantum yield in organic solvents, low reduction potential, good electron-acceptor properties, and broad color range properties. Undoubtedly, the intrinsically poor solubility of PDI-based derivatives in water greatly hampers their exploitation as reaction-based probes; however, a vast array of functionalizations now offer design strategies that have resulted in >50% solubility of PDI derivatives in water. A chemodosimeter, wherein chemical transformation is achieved by specific reactions, affords naked-eye visibility, fast response time, sensitivity, ratiometric response, and low cost. The present review focuses on the progress of PDI-based chemodosimeters achieved so far since the inception of this member in the rylene diimide family. This comprehensive review may facilitate the development of more powerful chemodosimeters based on PDI for broad and exciting applications in the future.