Molecular self-assembly is a powerful means to construct nanoscale materials with advanced photophysical properties. Although the protection of the photo-excited states from oxygen quenching is a critical issue, it still has been in an early phase of development. In this work, we demonstrate that a simple and typical molecular design for aqueous supramolecular assembly, modification of the chromophoric unit with hydrophilic oligo(ethylene glycol) chains and hydrophobic alkyl chains, is effective to avoid oxygen quenching of triplet–triplet annihilation-based photon upconversion (TTA-UC). While a TTA-UC emission is completely quenched when the donor and acceptor are molecularly dispersed in chloroform, their aqueous co-assemblies exhibit a clear upconverted emission in air-saturated water even under extremely low chromophore concentrations down to 40 μm. The generalization of this nano-encapsulation approach offers new functions and applications using oxygen-sensitive species for supramolecular chemistry.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Organic Chemistry