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Aggregation-Induced Emission from Fluorophore–Quencher Dyads with Long-Lived Luminescence

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posted on 20.08.2015, 00:00 by Biao Chen, Xingxing Sun, Ruffin E. Evans, Rui Zhou, James N. Demas, Carl O. Trindle, Guoqing Zhang
Aggregation-induced emission (AIE) is an important photophysical phenomenon in molecular materials and has found broad applications in optoelectronics, bioimaging, and chemosensing. Currently, the majority of reported AIE-active molecules are based on either propeller-shaped rotamers or donor–acceptor molecules with strong intramolecular charge-transfer states. Here, we report a new design motif, where a fluorophore is covalently tethered to a quencher, to expand the scope of AIE-active materials. The fluorophore–quencher dyad (FQD) is nonemissive in solutions due to photoinduced electron-transfer quenching but becomes luminescent in the solid state. The intrinsic emission lifetimes are found to be within the microseconds domain at both room and low temperatures. We performed single-crystal X-ray diffraction measurement for each of the FQDs as well as theoretical calculations to account for the possible origin of the long-lived AIE. These FQDs represent a new class of AIE-active molecules with potential applications in organic optoelectronics.