Aggregation-amplified circularly polarized luminescence from axial chiral boron difluoride complexes

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  • ReceivedOct 5, 2018
  • AcceptedNov 7, 2018
  • PublishedJan 7, 2019


The development of small organic molecules with intense and switchable circularly polarized luminescence (CPL) is currently attracting great interest due to their promising applications in chiroptical devices and sensors. In this paper, CPL-active BF2-bridged azaanthracene dimers (BA1 and BA2) were facilely synthesized by incorporating boron difluoride unit to the binaphthalene. BA1 and BA2 show moderate CPL in diluted solutions, however, BA2 exhibited aggregation-amplified red CPL with large dissymmetry factor up to 1.6×10−2. Moreover, acid-/base-triggered CPL switch off/on were also realized via disaggregation/aggregation of BA2 in tetrahydrofuran (THF)/water binary solvents.

Funded by

the National Nature Science Foundation of China(21501085)

Key University Science Research Project of Jiangsu Province(17KJA150004)


This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (21501085) and Key University Science Research Project of Jiangsu Province (17KJA150004). We are grateful to the High Performance Computing Center of Nanjing Tech University supporting the computational resources.

Interest statement

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


The supporting information is available online at http://chem.scichina.com and http://link.springer.com/journal/11426. The supporting materials are published as submitted, without typesetting or editing. The responsibility for scientific accuracy and content remains entirely with the authors.


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  • Figure 1

    Chemical Structure of (R)-/(S)-BA1 and (R)-/(S)-BA2 (color online).

  • Scheme 1

    Synthesis of (R)-/(S)-BA1 and (R)-/(S)-BA2.

  • Figure 2

    X-ray crystallographic structure of (S)-BA2 (ORTEP drawing with 50% probability, H-atoms are omitted for clarity) (color online).

  • Figure 3

    (a) Absorption and normalized emission spectra of (R)-/(S)-BA1 and (R)-/(S)-BA2 in DCM (1.0×10−5 mol/L); (b) the CD and CPL spectra of (R)-/(S)-BA1 (1.0×10−5 mol/L for CD spectra and 1.0×10−3 mol/L for CPL spectra in DCM, respectively) and (R)-/(S)-BA2 (1.0×10−5 mol/L for CD spectra in DCM and 1.0×10−3 mol/L in o-DCB for CPL spectra, respectively) (color online).

  • Figure 4

    Fluorescence spectra of (R)-BA2 (a) and (S)-BA2 (b), and CPL spectra (c) of (R)/(S)-BA2 in THF-water mixture (5.0×10−5 mol/L) with varied fw; the plot of the emission intensity at 647 nm of (R)-BA2 (d) and (S)-BA2 (e), and the plot of glum for (R)-BA2 (650 nm) and (S)-BA2 (648 nm) (f) in THF-water mixture. Insets in (d, e) are fluorescence photographs of (R)-BA2 and (S)-BA2 in THF-water mixture with different fw taken under 356 nm UV irradiation. λex=365 nm (color online).

  • Figure 5

    Proposed mechanism for the AIEE and aggregation-induced glum increment of (R)-/(S)-BA2 (color online).

  • Figure 6

    CPL and fluorescence spectra of (a) (R)-/(S)-BA1 and (R)-/(S)-BA2 in the powder solid-state, and (b) (R)-/(S)-BA2 in THF–water mixtures (1.0´10−5 mol/L) with fw of 80%. λex=400 nm (color online).

  • Table 1   Photophysical data of ()-/()- and ()-/()- in solution and in solid-state


    In solution

    In solid-state d)

    λabs (nm)/ε (mol−1 cm−1) a)

    λem(nm) (Φf) a), b)

    SS (cm−1) c)

    τ (ns)

    λabs (nm)

    λem (nm)

    Φf e)

    SS (cm−1) c)



    338 (47800), 437 (4100)

    601 (14%)









    337 (40100), 437 (3500)

    601 (14%)









    324 (47800), 449 (46900)

    612 (6.8%)









    324 (30100), 446 (28100)

    612 (6.8%)








    Measured at a concentration of 1.0×10−5 mol/L in DCM at 25°C, and ε in the first column is the molar absorption coefficient; b) determined using Coumarin-6 (Φf=0.8 in EtOH) for (R)-/(S)-BA1 and 1,3,5,7-tetramethyl-8-phenyl-4,4-difluoroboradiazaindaccene (Φf=0.65 in MeOH) for (R)-/(S)-BA2 as reference; c) energy gap between the absorption and emission maxima; d) powder samples of (R)-/(S)-BA1 and (R)-/(S)-BA2 were used for absorption and emission spectra collection, and the absolute quantum yield determination; e) absolute quantum yield determined by calibrated integrating sphere systems.

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