In our bodies, a slight pH change causes remarkable activation or serious damage in the biological processes and continuously keeps biological homeostasis. Detection of such a slight pH change has been a constant demand in searching for unusual biological events. In this paper, we demonstrate a novel pH sensory system that has been achieved through a combination of charge neutralization by a slight pH change with aggregation-induced emission (AIE). We selected a cyano-functionalized oligo(phenylene-vinylene) (cyanoOPV) backbone for AIE and introduced ammonium-tethered boronic acid groups as a pH-dependent function. The self-assembling of these dyes (OPV-Cn) was readily achieved by pH-dependent charge neutralization at the neutral pH region. This sensory system showed unusually sensitive pH responsiveness in a narrow pH range. Moreover, this pH change was observed in a biologically important neutral pH region. We therefore believe that this system is broadly applicable to detect the slight pH change occurring in the biological events.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Organic Chemistry