Click reaction has been used to make covalent organic cages with tetraphenyl ethylene and tetrabiphenyl ethylene AIEgens. The emissive cages exhibit enhanced aggregation induced emission and detect picric acid in nanomolar quantity in aqueous solutions.
This study reports the synthesis of cofacial organic cage molecules containing aggregation-induced emissive (AIE) luminogens (AIEgens) through four-fold Cu(I)-catalyzed azide–alkyne cycloaddition (CuAAC) “click” reactions. The shorter AIEgen, tetraphenylethylene (TPE), afforded two orientational isomers (TPE-CC-1A and TPE-CC-1B). The longer AIEgen, tetrabiphenylethylene (TBPE), afforded a single isomer (TBPE-CC-2). The click reaction employed is irreversible, yet it yielded remarkable four-fold click products above 40 %. The phenyl rings around the ethylene core generate propeller-shaped chirality owing to their orientation, which influences the chirality of the resulting cages. The shorter cages are a mixture of PP/MM isomers, while the longer ones are a mixture of PM/MP isomers, as evidenced by their x-ray structures. The newly synthesized cage molecules are emissive even in dilute solutions (THF) and exhibit enhanced AIE upon the addition of water. The aggregated cage molecules in aqueous solution exhibit turn-off emission sensing of nitroaromatic explosives, with selectivity to picric acid in the 25–38 nanomolar detection range.Zum Volltext