Underwater luminescent labeling materials constructed from a supramolecular approach†
Underwater labeling under complicated conditions is challenging for modern adhesive materials. In this work, a series of supramolecular polymer adhesives were successfully prepared via the non-covalent copolymerization of low-molecular-weight monomers (thioctic acid (TA) and tetraphenylethene derivatives (TPEs)). Strong adhesion effects were observed under various conditions. The poly(TA-TPE)s showed long-term stability in underwater labeling. Due to the aggregation-induced emission (AIE) behavior of TPEs, poly(TA-TPE)s showed great potential as fluorescent labeling materials in water. Complicated and cryptographic information can be stored in labeling structures, and analyzed under ultraviolet (UV) irradiation. Supramolecular labeling showed excellent distinguishability in complex backgrounds. Meanwhile, fluorescent adhesives exhibited a number of advantages over visible colored labels.