Tetraphenylethylene-Induced Cross-Linked Vesicles with Tunable Luminescence and Controllable Stability

Luminescence-tunable vesicles (LTVs) are becoming increasingly attractive for their potential application in optics, electronics, and biomedical technology. However, for real applications, luminous efficiency and durability are two urgent constraints to be overcome. Combining the advantages of aggregation-induced emission in luminous enhancement and cross-linking in stability, we herein fabricated tetraphenylethylene-induced cross-linked vesicles with an entrapped acceptor of RhB (TPE-CVs@RhB), which achieved a high-efficiency multicolor emission of the visible spectrum, including white, by altering the amount of entrapped acceptor. Stability tests show that the luminescence of TPE-CVs@RhB has excellent environmental tolerance toward heating, dilution, doping of organic solvent, and storage in serum. Further outstanding performance in the application of fluorescent inks suggests that the new LTVs hold high potential in industrialization. More attractively, although the TPE-CVs@RhB can tolerate various harsh conditions, their stability can actually be controlled through the cross-linker adopted. For example, the employment of dithiothreitol in the present work produces an acid-labile β-thiopropionate linker. The cellular uptake by HepG2 cells shows that the acid-labile TPE-CVs@RhB can effectively respond to the acidic environment of cancer cells and release the entrapped RhB molecules, indicative of promising applications of this new type of LTVs in bioimaging and drug delivery.