Reducing aggregation caused quenching effect through co-assembly of PAH chromophores and molecular barriers.


State Key Laboratory of Applied Organic Chemistry, Lanzhou University, Tianshui Southern Road 222, Lanzhou, 730000, Gansu Province, China. [Email]


The features of well-conjugated and planar aromatic structures make π-conjugated luminescent materials suffer from aggregation caused quenching (ACQ) effect when used in solid or aggregated states, which greatly impedes their applications in optoelectronic devices and biological applications. Herein, we reduce the ACQ effect by demonstrating a facile and low cost method to co-assemble polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) chromophores and octafluoronaphthalene together. Significantly, the solid photoluminescence quantum yield (PLQYs) for the as-resulted four micro/nanococrystals are enhanced by 254%, 235%, 474 and 582%, respectively. Protection from hydrophilic polymer chains (P123 (PEO20-PPO70-PEO20)) endows the cocrystals with superb dispersibility in water. More importantly, profiting from the above-mentioned highly improved properties, nano-cocrystals present good biocompatibility and considerable cell imaging performance. This research provides a simple method to enhance the emission, biocompatibility and cellular permeability of common chromophores, which may open more avenues for the applications of originally non- or poor fluorescent PAHs.