Solvent polarity driven helicity inversion and circularly polarized luminescence in chiral aggregation induced emission fluorophores†
Development of functional materials capable of exhibiting chirality tunable circularly polarized luminescence (CPL) is currently in high demand for potential technological applications. Herein we demonstrate the formation of both left- and right-handed fluorescent helical superstructures from each enantiomer of a chiral tetraphenylethylene derivative through judicious choice of the solution processing conditions. Interestingly, both the aggregation induced emission active enantiomers exhibit handedness inversion of their supramolecular helical assemblies just by varying the solution polarity without any change in their molecular chirality. The resulting helical supramolecular aggregates from each enantiomer are capable of emitting circularly polarized light, thus enabling both right- and left-handed CPL from a single chiral material. The left- and right-handed supramolecular helical aggregates in the dried films have been characterized using spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy, and transmission electron microscopy techniques. These new chiral aggregation induced emission compounds could find applications in devices where CPL of opposite handedness is required from the same material and would facilitate our understanding of the formation of helical assemblies with switchable supramolecular chirality.