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Unique mechanofluoro enhancement effect of an AIEgen containing Tröger’s base and TPE units

一种含Tröger碱单元的AIE分子的独特力致荧光增强 行为

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Abstract

We demonstrate a unique mechano-luminochromic (MLC) effect of an aggregation-induced emission (AIE)-active luminogen (AIEgen), DTPE-TB, which is characterized by the evidently changed emission intensity but unimpressively shifted emission colors of the molecular solid. This behavior is termed mechanofluoro enhancement (MFE), which is quite distinct from the commonly reported AIEgens with the MLC property. The MFE effect originates from the special design of the DTPE-TB molecule, in which the two tetraphenylethene (TPE) units play the role of AIE, and the Tröger’s base unit takes the part of a mechanical force supporter. Therefore, when the DTPE-TB molecular solid is subjected to mechanical forces, the Λ-shaped Tröger’s base unit releases external forces by changing its dihedral angle. Meanwhile, the TPE units nearly keep unchanged in the molecular arrangement. Accordingly, the DTPE-TB solid shows an evidently enhanced emission under pressure due to the aggravated restriction of intramolecular motions but a slightly shifted emission wavelength due to the tiny variations in molecular packing.

摘要

本文报道了一种性能独特的聚集诱导发光分子DTPE-TB, 它由 位于中间的一个Tröger碱和两端的两个四苯基乙烯(TPE)基团构成. 当 DTPE-TB分子固体受到机械力作用时, Tröger碱的Λ-型结构通过改变 二面角发生形变承载外力, 使分子内运动受限加重, 固体荧光增强. 而 TPE基团受力很小, 其排列方式基本不变, 所以发光波长仅有微小移动. 我们将这种特殊的力致发光变色效应命名为力致荧光增强.

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Acknowledgements

This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (22021715 and 52150222), and the Department of Science & Technology of Zhejiang Province (major scientific and technological project: 2020C03030). Zhang H thanks the support from the Open Fund of Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Luminescence from Molecular Aggregates, South China University of Technology (2019B030301003).

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Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

Ni J carried out the molecular design and synthesis, structure characterization, photophysical property measurements and data analyses, and manuscript preparation. Zang Q conducted the crystal growth and data analyses, photophysical data analyses and fluorescent image treatment; Zhang H helped in the theoretical calculations and mechanism analyzing. Sun JZ managed the research projects, mechanism understanding and manuscript revision. Tang BZ assisted in the project design and mechanism understanding.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Jing Zhi Sun  (孙景志) or Ben Zhong Tang  (唐本忠).

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Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary information

Supporting data are available in the online version of the paper.

Juechen Ni received his MS degree from Liaoning Normal University in 2017 and has been a PhD student at Zhejiang University (ZJU) under the supervision of Prof. Jingzhi Sun since 2019. He is working on the design and synthesis of aggregation-induced emission (AIE) fluorescent materials.

Jing Zhi Sun received his Bachelor’s, MS and PhD degrees in chemistry from Jilin University. He was a postdoctoral fellow (1999) and then worked as an associate (2001) and a full professor (2006) at ZJU. He is currently an outstanding teaching professor at ZJU. His research interests focus on the synthesis of functional polymers with triple-bond monomers, organic/polymeric luminescent materials with AIE property for chemical, environmental, biological and medical sensors.

Ben Zhong Tang received his BS and PhD degrees from the South China University of Technology (SCUT) and Kyoto University, respectively. He conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Toronto. He joined The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) as an assistant professor in 1994 and was promoted to chair professor in 2008. Now he is a presidential chair professor at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen (CUHK-SZ) and an adjunct professor at HKUST. His research interests include materials science, macromolecular chemistry, and biomedical theranostics. His lab is spearheading the research on AIE.

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Ni, J., Zang, Q., Zhang, H. et al. Unique mechanofluoro enhancement effect of an AIEgen containing Tröger’s base and TPE units. Sci. China Mater. 66, 1959–1967 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40843-022-2314-2

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