ACQ-to-AIE Transformation: Tuning Molecular Packing by Regioisomerization for Two-Photon NIR Bioimaging

Yuanyuan Li, Shunjie Liu, Huwei Ni, Haoke Zhang, Hequn Zhang, Clarence Chuah, Chao Ma, Kam Sing Wong, Jacky W.Y. Lam, Ryan T.K. Kwok, Jun Qian, Xuefeng Lu, Ben Zhong Tang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

132 Citations (Scopus)


The traditional design strategies for highly bright solid-state luminescent materials rely on weakening the intermolecular π–π interactions, which may limit diversity when developing new materials. Herein, we propose a strategy of tuning the molecular packing mode by regioisomerization to regulate the solid-state fluorescence. TBP-e-TPA with a molecular rotor in the end position of a planar core adopts a long-range cofacial packing mode, which in the solid state is almost non-emissive. By shifting molecular rotors to the bay position, the resultant TBP-b-TPA possesses a discrete cross packing mode, giving a quantum yield of 15.6±0.2 %. These results demonstrate the relationship between the solid-state fluorescence efficiency and the molecule's packing mode. Thanks to the good photophysical properties, TBP-b-TPA nanoparticles were used for two-photon deep brain imaging. This molecular design philosophy provides a new way of designing highly bright solid-state fluorophores.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12822-12826
Number of pages5
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Issue number31
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jul 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • ACQ-to-AIE transformation
  • aggregation-induced emission
  • cross packing
  • regioisomerization
  • two-photon imaging


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