Vapochromic crystals: understanding vapochromism from the perspective of crystal engineering
Vapochromic materials, which undergo colour and/or emission changes upon exposure to certain vapours or gases, have received increasing attention recently because of their wide range of applications in, e.g., chemical sensors, light-emitting diodes, and environmental monitors. Vapochromic crystals, as a specific kind of vapochromic materials, can be investigated from the perspective of crystal engineering to understand the mechanism of vapochromism. Moreover, understanding the vapochromism mechanism will be beneficial to design and prepare task-specific vapochromic crystals as one kind of low-cost ‘electronic nose’ to detect toxic gases or volatile organic compounds. This review provides important information in a broad scientific context to develop new vapochromic materials, which covers organometallic or coordination complexes and organic crystals, as well as the different mechanisms of the related vapochromic behaviour. In addition, recent examples of supramolecular vapochromic crystals and metal–organic-framework (MOFs) vapochromic crystals are introduced.