Tetraphenylethylene-based color-tunable AIE-ESIPT chromophores

There has been growing interest in the design and development of tunable light emissive materials that have potential applications in lighting and displays. In this paper, we have incorporated the aggregation induced emission (AIE) with excited-state intramolecular proton transfer (ESIPT) process into one molecular skeleton for generation of color-tunable emitting materials. As expected, the high air/photo-stability of TPE-based asymmetric Schiff-base chromophores 1–2 displayed clear AIE characteristics and significant advantages in terms of tunable emission containing blue, warm white, as well as orange-red in solution. More importantly, all compounds 1–4 display brilliant colors by adjusting the intensity of blue and red emission in a mixture with a polymer in the solid state. This innovative research would provide a new, efficient channel for the discovery of well-organized full color emitting organic materials.