Chinese Journal of Polymer Science

, Volume 37, Issue 9, pp 930–935 | Cite as

pH-responsive AIE-active Polyethylene-based Block Copolymers

  • Yu Jiang
  • Nikos HadjichristidisEmail author


A novel synthetic strategy towards pH-responsive aggregation-induced emission (AIE)-active tetraphenylethene (TPE)-functionalized polyethylene-based block copolymers is presented. Tris(3-(4-(1,2,2-triphenylvinyl)phenoxy)propyl)borane was used to initiate the polyhomologation of dimethylsulfoxonium methylide to afford well-defined α-TPE-ω-OH linear polyethylenes (PE). The terminal hydroxyl groups were transformed to atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP) initiating sites by esterification with α-bromoisobutyryl bromide, followed by polymerization of tert-butyl acrylate (tBA) to provide TPE-PE-b-PtBA block copolymers. After hydrolysis of the tBu group to COOH group, the corresponding pH-responsive TPE-PE-b-PAA block copolymers were obtained. All synthesized block copolymers revealed AIE behavior either in solution or bulk. Due to the pH-responsivity of PAA chains, the aggregation state at different pH and consequently the fluorescence intensity changed. Also, the synthesized block copolymers exhibited ion-specificity fluorescence properties.


Polyhomologation ATRP Polyethylene-b-poly(acrylic acid) AIE pH-responsivity Ion-specificity 


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The research reported in this publication was supported by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST).

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pH-responsive AIE-active Polyethylene-based Block Copolymers


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Copyright information

© Chinese Chemical Society Institute of Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Physical Sciences and Engineering Division, KAUST Catalysis Center, Polymer Synthesis LaboratoryKing Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)ThuwalSaudi Arabia

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