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Tetraphenylethylene@Graphene Oxide with Switchable Fluorescence Triggered by Mixed Solvents for the Application of Repeated Information Encryption and Decryption

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journal contribution
posted on 10.09.2019 by Mengmeng Qin, Yuxiao Xu, H. Gao, Guoying Han, Rong Cao, Peili Guo, Wei Feng, Li Chen
Aggregation-induced emission (AIE) materials present unique solid-state fluorescence. However, there remains a challenge in the switching of fluorescence quenching/emitting of AIE materials, limiting the application in information encryption. Herein, we report a composite of tetraphenylethylene@graphene oxide (TPE@GO) with switchable microstructure and fluorescence. We choose GO as a fluorescence quencher to control the fluorescence of TPE by controlling the aggregation structure. First, TPE coating with an average thickness of about 31 nm was deposited at the GO layer surface, which is the critical thickness at which the fluorescence can be largely quenched because of the fluorescence resonance energy transfer. After spraying a mixed solvent (good and poor solvents of TPE) on TPE@GO, a blue fluorescence of TPE was emitted during the drying process. During the treatment of mixed solvents, the planar TPE coating was dissolved in THF first and then the TPE molecules aggregated into nanoparticles (an average diameter of 65 nm) in H2O during the volatilization of THF. We found that the fluorescence switching of the composite is closely related to the microstructural change of TPE between planar and granular structures, which can make the upper TPE molecules in and out of the effective quenching region of GO. This composite, along with the treatment method, was used as an invisible ink in repeated information encryption and decryption. Our work not only provides a simple strategy to switch the fluorescence of solid-state fluorescent materials but also demonstrates the potential for obtaining diverse material structures through compound solvent treatment.