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Special Issue "Aggregation-Induced Emission: Commemorative Issue in Honor of Professor Ben Zhong Tang’s Research Achievements on the Occasion of His 60th Birthday"

A special issue of Molecules (ISSN 1420-3049).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2017)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Assoc. Prof. Youhong Tang

Institute for NanoScale Science and Technology, Flinders University, South Australia 5042, Australia
Website | E-Mail
Interests: advanced functional composites and marine structures; nanomaterials and nanocomposites; FRP composites and structures; biomaterials and biocomposites; aggregation-induced emission (AIE) phenomenon and its applications

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In 2001, Professor Ben Zhong Tang’s group discovered an uncommon luminogen system, in which aggregation worked constructively, rather than destructively as in the conventional systems. They found that a series of silole derivatives were non-emissive in dilute solutions but became highly luminescent when their molecules were aggregated in concentrated solutions or cast into solid films. Since the light emission was induced by aggregate formation, Professor Tang termed the process “aggregation-induced emission” (AIE). AIE is a novel photophysical phenomenon, which offers a new platform for researchers to look into the light-emitting processes from luminogen aggregates, from which useful information on structure-property relationships may be collected and mechanistic insights may be gained. The discovery of the AIE effect opens a new avenue for the development of new luminogen materials in the aggregate or solid state. By enabling light emission in the practically useful solid state, AIE has already demonstrated the significances in the technological applications of luminescent materials.

Our journal is pleased to be publishing a commemorative issue in honor of Professor Ben Zhong Tang for his outstanding research contributions on “Aggregation-induced emission”.

Ben Zhong Tang is Stephen K. C. Cheong Professor of Science and Chair Professor of Chemistry and Biomedical Engineering at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST).  His research interests include macromolecular chemistry, materials science, and biomedical theranostics. Professor Tang received B.S. and Ph.D. degrees from South China University of Technology and Kyoto University, respectively. He conducted postdoctoral research at University of Toronto. He joined HKUST as an assistant professor in 1994 and was promoted to chair professor in 2008. He was elected to the Chinese Academy of Sciences (MCAS) and Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC) in 2009 and 2013, respectively.

Professor Tang has published over 800 papers. His publications have been cited over 30,000 times by peers, with an h-index of 98. He has been listed by Thomson Reuters as a Highly Cited Researcher in both areas of Chemistry and Materials Science in 2014 and 2015. He received a Natural Science Award from the Chinese Government and a Senior Research Fellowship from the Croucher Foundation in 2007. He is serving as Editor-in-Chief of Materials Chemistry Frontiers (RSC).

In honor of Professor Tang’s outstanding career achievements on the occasion of his 60th birthday in 2017, this commemorative issue of Molecules welcomes submission of previously unpublished manuscripts from original work or reviews on “Aggregation-induced emission”. We plan to receive submissions from 1 October 2016 to 31 July 2017 and manuscripts will be published online on an ongoing basis after being processed.

Dr. Youhong Tang
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Molecules is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • supramolecular structure and AIE
  • AIE-active polymers
  • enhanced emission by restriction of molecular rotation
  • crystallization-induced emission enhancement
  • theoretical understanding of AIE phenomena
  • AIE chemosensors
  • AIE biosensors
  • application of AIE

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

Jump to: Review

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Preparation of Cyano-Substituted Tetraphenylethylene Derivatives and Their Applications in Solution-Processable OLEDs
Molecules 2018, 23(1), 190; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23010190
Received: 29 December 2017 / Revised: 14 January 2018 / Accepted: 14 January 2018 / Published: 17 January 2018
PDF Full-text (2644 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Creation of organic luminescent materials with high solid-state efficiency is of vital importance for their applications in optoelectronic fields. Here, a series of AIE luminogens (AIE gens), (Z)-2,3-bis(4-(9,9-bis(6-(9H-carbazol-9-yl)hexyl)-9H-fluoren-2-yl)phenyl)-3-phenylacrylonitrile (SFC), and 2,3-bis(4-(9,9-bis(6-(9H-carbazol-9-yl)hexyl)-9H-fluoren-2-yl)phenyl)fumaronitrile (DFC),
[...] Read more.
Creation of organic luminescent materials with high solid-state efficiency is of vital importance for their applications in optoelectronic fields. Here, a series of AIE luminogens (AIE gens), (Z)-2,3-bis(4-(9,9-bis(6-(9H-carbazol-9-yl)hexyl)-9H-fluoren-2-yl)phenyl)-3-phenylacrylonitrile (SFC), and 2,3-bis(4-(9,9-bis(6-(9H-carbazol-9-yl)hexyl)-9H-fluoren-2-yl)phenyl)fumaronitrile (DFC), utilizing 2,3,3-triphenylacrylonitrile and 2,3-diphenylfumaronitrile as respective centers, are designed and synthesized by Suzuki coupling reactions with high yields. The cis- and trans-isomers of DFC are also successfully obtained. All of them are thermally stable and show good solubility in common organic solvents. They all emit weakly in solution, but become strong emitters when fabricated into solid films. It is found introduction of one additional cyano group in DFC induced a big red-shift in solid-state emission, owing to its high electron-withdrawing ability. The cis- and trans-DFC show similar photophysical and Cyclic voltammogram (CV) behaviors. Non-doped solution-processed organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) using the three compounds as light-emitting layers are fabricated. SFC gives the best device performance with a maximum luminance of 5201 cd m−2, a maximum current efficiency of 3.67 cd A−1 and a maximum external quantum efficiencies (EQE) of 1.37%. Red-shifted EL spectra are observed for cis- and trans-DFC-based device, and the OLED using trans-DFC as active layer exhibits better performance, which might derive from their different conformation in film state. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Construction of Luminogen Exhibiting Multicolored Emission Switching through Combination of Twisted Conjugation Core and Donor-Acceptor Units
Molecules 2017, 22(12), 2222; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules22122222
Received: 17 November 2017 / Revised: 8 December 2017 / Accepted: 11 December 2017 / Published: 14 December 2017
PDF Full-text (7690 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Stimuli responsive luminescent materials, especially those exhibiting multicolor emission switching, have potential application in sensor, optical recording, security ink, and anti-counterfeit label. Through combination of twisted conjugation core and donor and acceptor units, a luminogen (2-(bis(4-(carbazol-9-yl)phenyl)methylene)malononitrile (1) was synthesized.
[...] Read more.
Stimuli responsive luminescent materials, especially those exhibiting multicolor emission switching, have potential application in sensor, optical recording, security ink, and anti-counterfeit label. Through combination of twisted conjugation core and donor and acceptor units, a luminogen (2-(bis(4-(carbazol-9-yl)phenyl)methylene)malononitrile (1) was synthesized. Luminogen 1 can form three kinds of crystals emitting green (1GC, λem = 506 nm, ΦF = 19.8%), yellow-green (1YC, λem = 537 nm, ΦF = 17.8%), and orange (1OC, λem = 585 nm, ΦF = 30.0%) light upon 365 nm UV illumination. The emission of amorphous solid of 1 (1Am) overlaps with that of 1OCem = 585 nm), with quantum yield of 13.9%, which is seldom reported. Emission of 1 can be switched among green, yellow-green, and orange through morphology modulation upon exposure to thermal, solvent vapor, or mechanical stimuli. Finally, its potential application in optical recording was also investigated. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle 9-Vinylanthracene Based Fluorogens: Synthesis, Structure-Property Relationships and Applications
Molecules 2017, 22(12), 2148; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules22122148
Received: 1 September 2017 / Revised: 24 November 2017 / Accepted: 1 December 2017 / Published: 4 December 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (6155 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Fluorescent dyes with aggregation-induced emission (AIE) properties exhibit intensified emission upon aggregation. They are promising candidates to study biomolecules and cellular changes in aqueous environments when aggregation formation occurs. Here, we report a group of 9-position functionalized anthracene derivatives that were conveniently synthesized
[...] Read more.
Fluorescent dyes with aggregation-induced emission (AIE) properties exhibit intensified emission upon aggregation. They are promising candidates to study biomolecules and cellular changes in aqueous environments when aggregation formation occurs. Here, we report a group of 9-position functionalized anthracene derivatives that were conveniently synthesized by the palladium-catalyzed Heck reaction. Using fluorometric analyses, these dyes were confirmed to show AIE behavior upon forming aggregates at high concentrations, in viscous solvents, and when poorly solubilized. Their photophysical properties were then further correlated with their structural features, using density functional theory (DFT) calculation. Finally, we demonstrated their potential applications in monitoring pH changes, quantifying globular proteins, as well as cell imaging with confocal microscopy. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperCommunication Pyrene-Based Blue AIEgen: Enhanced Hole Mobility and Good EL Performance in Solution-Processed OLEDs
Molecules 2017, 22(12), 2144; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules22122144
Received: 1 November 2017 / Accepted: 27 November 2017 / Published: 4 December 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2500 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Organic luminogens with strong solid-state emission have attracted much attention for their widely practical applications. However, the traditional organic luminogens with planar conformations often suffer from the notorious aggregation-caused quenching (ACQ) effect in solid state for the π–π stacking. Here, a highly efficient
[...] Read more.
Organic luminogens with strong solid-state emission have attracted much attention for their widely practical applications. However, the traditional organic luminogens with planar conformations often suffer from the notorious aggregation-caused quenching (ACQ) effect in solid state for the π–π stacking. Here, a highly efficient blue emitter TPE-4Py with an aggregation-induced emission (AIE) effect is achieved by combining twisted tetraphenylethene (TPE) core and planar pyrene peripheries. When the emitter was spin-coated in non-doped OLEDs with or without a hole-transporting layer, comparable EL performance was achieved, showing the bifunctional property as both an emitter and a hole-transporting layer. Furthermore, its EL efficiency was promoted in doped OLED, even at a high doping concentration (50%), because of its novel AIE effect, with a current efficiency up to 4.9 cd/A at 484 nm. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Enhancement of Aggregation-Induced Emission by Introducing Multiple o-Carborane Substitutions into Triphenylamine
Molecules 2017, 22(11), 2009; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules22112009
Received: 30 October 2017 / Revised: 15 November 2017 / Accepted: 17 November 2017 / Published: 19 November 2017
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (2095 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The enhancement of aggregation-induced emission (AIE) is presented on the basis of the strategy for improving solid-state luminescence by employing multiple o-carborane substituents. We synthesized the modified triphenylamines with various numbers of o-carborane units and compared their optical properties. From the
[...] Read more.
The enhancement of aggregation-induced emission (AIE) is presented on the basis of the strategy for improving solid-state luminescence by employing multiple o-carborane substituents. We synthesized the modified triphenylamines with various numbers of o-carborane units and compared their optical properties. From the optical measurements, the emission bands from the twisted intramolecular charge transfer (TICT) state were obtained from the modified triphenylamines. It was notable that emission efficiencies of the multi-substituted triphenylamines including two or three o-carborane units were enhanced 6- to 8-fold compared to those of the mono-substituted triphenylamine. According to mechanistic studies, it was proposed that the single o-carborane substitution can load the AIE property via the TICT mechanism. It was revealed that the additional o-carborane units contribute to improving solid-state emission by suppressing aggregation-caused quenching (ACQ). Subsequently, intense AIEs were obtained. This paper presents a new role of the o-carborane substituent in the enhancement of AIEs. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Tetraphenylpyrimidine-Based AIEgens: Facile Preparation, Theoretical Investigation and Practical Application
Molecules 2017, 22(10), 1679; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules22101679
Received: 20 August 2017 / Accepted: 3 October 2017 / Published: 10 October 2017
PDF Full-text (5038 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Aggregation-induced emission (AIE) has become a hot research area and tremendous amounts of AIE-active luminogens (AIEgens) have been generated. To further promote the development of AIE, new AIEgens are highly desirable. Herein, new AIEgens based on tetraphenylpyrimidine (TPPM) are rationally designed according to
[...] Read more.
Aggregation-induced emission (AIE) has become a hot research area and tremendous amounts of AIE-active luminogens (AIEgens) have been generated. To further promote the development of AIE, new AIEgens are highly desirable. Herein, new AIEgens based on tetraphenylpyrimidine (TPPM) are rationally designed according to the AIE mechanism of restriction of intramolecular motion, and facilely prepared under mild reaction conditions. The photophysical property of the generated TPPM, TPPM-4M and TPPM-4P are systematically investigated and the results show that they feature the aggregation-enhanced emission (AEE) characteristics. Theoretical study shows the high-frequency bending vibrations in the central pyrimidine ring of TPPM derivatives dominate the nonradiative decay channels. Thanks to the AEE feature, their aggregates can be used to detect explosives with super-amplification quenching effects, and the sensing ability is higher than typical AIE-active tetraphenylethene. It is anticipated that TPPM derivatives could serve as a new type of widely used AIEgen based on their facile preparation and good thermo-, photo- and chemostabilities. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Fluorescent Polystyrene Films for the Detection of Volatile Organic Compounds Using the Twisted Intramolecular Charge Transfer Mechanism
Molecules 2017, 22(8), 1306; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules22081306
Received: 8 June 2017 / Revised: 31 July 2017 / Accepted: 3 August 2017 / Published: 6 August 2017
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (4174 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Thin films of styrene copolymers containing fluorescent molecular rotors were demonstrated to be strongly sensitive to volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Styrene copolymers of 2-[4-vinyl(1,1′-biphenyl)-4′-yl]-cyanovinyljulolidine (JCBF) were prepared with different P(STY-co-JCBF)(m) compositions (m% = 0.10–1.00) and molecular weights of about 12,000 g/mol.
[...] Read more.
Thin films of styrene copolymers containing fluorescent molecular rotors were demonstrated to be strongly sensitive to volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Styrene copolymers of 2-[4-vinyl(1,1′-biphenyl)-4′-yl]-cyanovinyljulolidine (JCBF) were prepared with different P(STY-co-JCBF)(m) compositions (m% = 0.10–1.00) and molecular weights of about 12,000 g/mol. Methanol solutions of JCBF were not emissive due to the formation of the typical twisted intramolecular charge transfer (TICT) state at low viscosity regime, which formation was effectively hampered by adding progressive amounts of glycerol. The sensing performances of the spin-coated copolymer films (thickness of about 4 µm) demonstrated significant vapochromism when exposed to VOCs characterized by high vapour pressure and favourable interaction with the polymer matrix such as THF, CHCl3 and CH2Cl2. The vapochromic response was also reversible and reproducible after successive exposure cycles, whereas the fluorescence variation scaled linearly with VOC concentration, thus suggesting future applications as VOC optical sensors. Full article
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Open AccessCommunication A New Determination Method of the Solubility Parameter of Polymer Based on AIE
Received: 29 November 2016 / Revised: 16 December 2016 / Accepted: 21 December 2016 / Published: 30 December 2016
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (2163 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
An accurate method of the fluorescence probe approach based on an aggregation-induced emission (AIE) molecule (tetraphenylethylene) for measuring the solubility parameter of the polymer is reported. This method is distinctive in that the approach can make the polymer chain conformation in solution be
[...] Read more.
An accurate method of the fluorescence probe approach based on an aggregation-induced emission (AIE) molecule (tetraphenylethylene) for measuring the solubility parameter of the polymer is reported. This method is distinctive in that the approach can make the polymer chain conformation in solution be related to the fluorescence intensity. Since the solubility parameter of the polymer is also closely linked to its chain conformation in solution, the solubility parameter can be determined by the fluorescence intensity. The range of the solubility parameter of polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) tested by this method was from 9.00 cal1/2cm−3/2 to 10.00 cal1/2cm−3/2. The results are more accurate than those obtained from the traditional turbidimetric titration method, ranging from 8.60 cal1/2cm−3/2 to 12.15 cal1/2cm−3/2. According to the photoluminescence (PL) intensities spectra, the solubility parameters of PMMA and polyvinyl acetate (PVAc) are 9.19 cal1/2cm−3/2 and 9.85 cal1/2cm−3/2, respectively. Full article
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Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview AIEgen-Based Fluorescent Nanomaterials: Fabrication and Biological Applications
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 419; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23020419
Received: 31 January 2018 / Revised: 12 February 2018 / Accepted: 13 February 2018 / Published: 14 February 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (7842 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In recent years, luminogens with the feature of aggregation-induced emission (AIEgen) have emerged as advanced luminescent materials for fluorescent nanomaterial preparation. AIEgen-based nanomaterials show enhanced fluorescence efficiency and superior photostability, which thusly offer unique advantages in biological applications. In this review, we will
[...] Read more.
In recent years, luminogens with the feature of aggregation-induced emission (AIEgen) have emerged as advanced luminescent materials for fluorescent nanomaterial preparation. AIEgen-based nanomaterials show enhanced fluorescence efficiency and superior photostability, which thusly offer unique advantages in biological applications. In this review, we will summarize the fabrication methods of AIEgen-based nanomaterials and their applications in in vitro/in vivo imaging, cell tracing, photodynamic therapy and drug delivery, focusing on the recent progress. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview Applications of Fluorogens with Rotor Structures in Solar Cells
Molecules 2017, 22(6), 897; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules22060897
Received: 17 April 2017 / Revised: 18 May 2017 / Accepted: 25 May 2017 / Published: 29 May 2017
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (3652 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Solar cells are devices that convert light energy into electricity. To drive greater adoption of solar cell technologies, higher cell efficiencies and reductions in manufacturing cost are necessary. Fluorogens containing rotor structures may be helpful in addressing some of these challenges due to
[...] Read more.
Solar cells are devices that convert light energy into electricity. To drive greater adoption of solar cell technologies, higher cell efficiencies and reductions in manufacturing cost are necessary. Fluorogens containing rotor structures may be helpful in addressing some of these challenges due to their unique twisted structures and photophysics. In this review, we discuss the applications of rotor-containing molecules as dyes for luminescent down-shifting layers and luminescent solar concentrators, where their aggregation-induced emission properties and large Stokes shifts are highly desirable. We also discuss the applications of molecules containing rotors in third-generation solar cell technologies, namely dye-sensitized solar cells and organic photovoltaics, where the twisted 3-dimensional rotor structures are used primarily for aggregation control. Finally, we discuss perspectives on the future role of molecules containing rotor structures in solar cell technologies. Full article
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