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Polymers 2018, 10(7), 722;

A Facile Approach towards Fluorescent Nanogels with AIE-Active Spacers

Department of Chemistry and Key Laboratory for Preparation and Application of Ordered Structural Materials of Guangdong Province, Shantou University, Shantou 515063, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 31 May 2018 / Revised: 21 June 2018 / Accepted: 29 June 2018 / Published: 1 July 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Precision Polymer Synthesis)
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A facile and efficient approach for design and synthesis of organic fluorescent nanogels has been developed by using a pre-synthesized polymeric precursor. This strategy is achieved by two key steps: (i) precise synthesis of core–shell star-shaped block copolymers with crosslinkable AIEgen-precursor (AIEgen: aggregation induced emission luminogen) as pending groups on the inner blocks; (ii) gelation of the inner blocks by coupling the AIEgen-precursor moieties to generate AIE-active spacers, and thus, fluorescent nanogel. By using this strategy, a series of star-shaped block copolymers with benzophenone groups pending on the inner blocks were synthesized by grafting from a hexafunctional initiator through atom transfer radical copolymerization (ATRP) of 4-benzoylphenyl methacrylate (BPMA) or 2-(4-benzoylphenoxy)ethyl methacrylate (BPOEMA) with methyl methacrylate (MMA) and tert-butyldimethylsilyl-protected 2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate (ProHEMA) followed by a sequential ATRP to grow PMMA or PProHEMA. The pendent benzophenone groups were coupled by McMurry reaction to generate tetraphenylethylene (TPE) groups which served as AIE-active spacers, affording a fluorescent nanogel. The nanogel showed strong emission not only at aggregated state but also in dilute solution due to the strongly restricted inter- and intramolecular movement of TPE moiety in the crosslinked polymeric network. The nanogel has been used as a fluorescent macromolecular additive to fabricate fluorescent film. View Full-Text
Keywords: star-shaped polymeric precursor; fluorescent nanogel; AIE-active spacer star-shaped polymeric precursor; fluorescent nanogel; AIE-active spacer

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Feng, M.; Fang, L.; Guan, F.; Huang, S.; Cheng, Y.; Liang, Y.; Zhang, H. A Facile Approach towards Fluorescent Nanogels with AIE-Active Spacers. Polymers 2018, 10, 722.

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