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A New Kind of Nonconventional Luminogen Based on Aliphatic Polyhydroxyurethane and Its Potential Application in Ink-Free Anticounterfeiting Printing

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journal contribution
posted on 24.02.2020, 23:03 by Zihao Feng, Wei Zhao, Zhenhua Liang, Yanfeng Lv, Fukang Xiang, Deqiang Sun, Chuanyin Xiong, Chao Duan, Lei Dai, Yonghao Ni
Organic luminogens have extensive applications due to their unique photophysical properties. In recent years, nonconjugated organic luminogens, in contrast to traditional conjugated luminogens, have gained much attention because of their facile preparation, environmental friendliness, and biocompatibility. In this study, a new kind of nonconventional luminogen based on dynamic covalent cross-linked polyhydroxyurethane is reported for the first time. The new luminogen not only exhibits intrinsic strong fluorescent emission in the solid state but also possesses high mechanical properties along with good shape memory and self-healing properties. In addition, the new luminogens are synthesized from aliphatic polyfunctional cyclic carbonate and amines via a much more straightforward method, avoiding the use of toxic isocyanates. Investigations indicated that the intrinsic luminescence of the resultant luminogens was induced by the cross-linking of polymer chains and could be well tuned by controlling the degree of cross-linking. By taking advantage of the unique characteristics of the resultant polymer luminogens, we further developed a facile method, named “light-mediated ink-free screen printing”, for anticounterfeiting paper fabrication. Different from traditional ink-based printing technology, the new method used UV-light instead of expensive security ink to encode anticounterfeiting information on natural cellulose paper. The anticounterfeiting information is stable under various wet conditions, showing promising applications in the fast-growing counterfeiting of pharmaceuticals, packaging, and the food industry.