American Chemical Society
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Metal Cation-Responsive and Excitation-Dependent Nontraditional Multicolor Fluorescent Hydrogels for Multidimensional Information Encryption

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posted on 2021-08-10, 12:42 authored by Junwen Deng, Hangrui Wu, Wendi Xie, Haoyuan Jia, Zhonggang Xia, Huiliang Wang
Fluorescent polymeric hydrogels especially multicolor fluorescent polymeric hydrogels (MFPHs) have important applications in information storage, encryption, and encoding. MFPHs are generally prepared by incorporating multiple traditional fluorescent materials into hydrogels. In recent years, nontraditional luminescent polymers without any traditional π-conjugated chromophores have received increasing attention. Here, we report a novel type of nontraditional MFPHs prepared by in situ polymerization of acrylamide (AAm) in the presence of poly­(itaconic acid) (PITAc). The hydrogen-bonded mechanically strong PAAm/PITAc hydrogels show strong intrinsic fluorescence, and the fluorescence emission is excitation-dependent and metal cation-responsive. More impressively, the hydrogels treated with metal cations also possess excitation-dependent fluorescence. We developed a multi-ion inkjet printing (MIIP) technique to print texts or designed patterns onto the hydrogel surface using different metal cation solutions as inks, and then variable texts or patterns appear under the irradiation of UV, violet, and blue lights. Patterns can be further changed by selective printing, erasing, or reprinting on some regions. Therefore, multidimensional information encryption is achieved. This work provides a new strategy for preparing MFPHs for wide applications.