University Chemistry ›› 2020, Vol. 35 ›› Issue (4): 81-89.doi: 10.3866/PKU.DXHX201912030

Special Issue: 全国大学生化学实验创新设计竞赛

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RAFT Controlled Synthesis, Characterization and Photophysical Properties of the Prepared AIE Fluorescent Polymers

Tianrui Liu1, Weiguang Zhao2, Yanxin Zhang1, Kaixuan Feng1, Tianchi Xu2, Wenwei Zhang1,*(), Dongzhong Chen1,2,*()   

  1. 1 National Demonstration Center for Experimental Chemistry Education, School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, P. R. China
    2 Key Laboratory of High Performance Polymer Materials and Technology of Ministry of Education, Department of Polymer Science and Engineering, School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, P. R. China
  • Received:2019-12-06 Accepted:2019-12-29 Published:2020-02-17
  • Contact: Wenwei Zhang,Dongzhong Chen;


The aggregation-induced emission (AIE) molecules are novel organic fluorescent materials that present distinct photophysical properties in contrast to conventional aggregation-caused quenching fluorescent dyes. In virtue of their unique properties, they can be widely used in many fields such as chemical/biological sensing, biological probing and imaging, diagnosis and treatment integration and optoelectronic devices. In this paper, based on innovative experimental competition, tetraphenylethylene (TPE) side-chain polyacrylate AIE polymers have been synthesized through reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) polymerization. With the optimization and exploration of the experimental conditions, the initiator of 2, 2'-azobis-2, 4-dimethylvaleronitrile (ABVN) with shorter half-life and higher activity was adopted to replace the conventional azobisisobutyronitrile (AIBN). As a result, the frontier scientific research experiment, which would have required more than 12 hours reaction, was adapted into a shorter polymerization time of 3-5 hours with moderate yields and good polymer product quality. Thus, the research experiment was remoulded as an experiment suitable for undergraduate laboratory teaching. A range of modern laboratory techniques, such as the anhydrous oxygen-free operation, the column chromatography separation and purification operation, the RAFT controlled polymerization, the gel-permeation chromatography molecular characterization, FTIR, NMR, UV-Vis, and fluorescence emission spectroscopy, have been involved and practised. The photophysical properties of the synthesized TPE side-chain AIE polymers were investigated, with the relative fluorescence quantum yield in the THF/water mixture solution of high water fraction reached a high value of 17%.

Key words: Tetraphenylethylene (TPE), AIE polymer, RAFT controlled polymerization, Photophysical properties, Innovation experiment


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