Nav: Home

Let it glow

February 26, 2017

Chemical compounds that emit light are used in a variety of different materials, from glow-in-the-dark children's toys to LED lights to light-emitting sensors. As the demand for these compounds increases, finding new efficient methods for their production is essential. New research from the Coordination Chemistry and Catalysis Unit at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) describes a new strategy for producing photoluminescent (PL) compounds with increased capabilities. This research was recently published in the Journal of Materials Chemistry C.

Production of PL compounds is typically centered around two main methods: the conventional metal-ligand system or an aggregation based system. The first method requires a complex ligand, or compound, that strongly binds to a metal ion in a way that would allow for the complex to emit light of certain wavelength. Unfortunately, this system is rigid and unable to be modified once the complex is produced. In contrast, the aggregation-based system is driven by weak interactions between different molecules or their parts. This allows for tunability by shifting the color of light emitted based on interactions of the PL compound with the local environment. However, aggregation is typically difficult to control and thus not feasible to use in systems requiring precision.

Recent research from OIST scientists combines the best parts of both methods to produce PL molecules. "We wanted to create better photoluminescent compounds by combining the two previous concepts: the flexibility of the weak aggregation driven complexes and the controllability of the conventional metal-ligand system", explained Dr. Georgy Filonenko, postdoctoral researcher from the Coordination Chemistry and Catalysis Unit at OIST.

Researchers, led by Prof. Julia Khusnutdinova, designed compounds whose photoluminescence depended on weak interactions between atoms within the single compound molecule itself. As a result, they obtained the tunability of the aggregation-based system confined to a single molecule, without the need for intermolecular aggregation.

Akin to the conventional metal-ligand system, the molecules synthesized by Filonenko consist of a ligand and a copper ion which interact to produce photoluminescence. However, the ligand in the OIST-synthesized molecules is not rigid and has two cyclic-bonded atom structure, referred to as rings, stacked on top of one another that can interact just like in the aggregation system, but within a single molecule. Interestingly, researchers discovered that they could adjust the color emitted from these molecules based on the distance between these rings. "We found that we could change the color produced by the compound based on what other groups of atoms were bound to the ligand," illuminates Filonenko. "Larger groups would cause the rings to move closer together, shifting the color to the orange-yellow range, while smaller substituents would make the rings move apart, turning the emission color red. The ability to tune the wavelength of light emitted from these molecules provides a huge advantage over the traditional metal-ligand PL complexes".

The tunability and controllability of these complexes makes them an attractive candidate for many applications. "We see a high potential for these compounds to be used as sensors due to their very high sensitivity to the surrounding environment," revealed Filonenko.
-end-


Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate University

Related Molecules Articles:

Water molecules dance in three
An international team of scientists has been able to shed new light on the properties of water at the molecular level.
How molecules self-assemble into superstructures
Most technical functional units are built bit by bit according to a well-designed construction plan.
Breaking down stubborn molecules
Seawater is more than just saltwater. The ocean is a veritable soup of chemicals.
Shaping the rings of molecules
Canadian chemists discover a natural process to control the shape of 'macrocycles,' molecules of large rings of atoms, for use in pharmaceuticals and electronics.
The mysterious movement of water molecules
Water is all around us and essential for life. Nevertheless, research into its behaviour at the atomic level -- above all how it interacts with surfaces -- is thin on the ground.
Spectroscopy: A fine sense for molecules
Scientists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics have developed a unique laser technology for the analysis of the molecular composition of biological samples.
Looking at the good vibes of molecules
Label-free dynamic detection of biomolecules is a major challenge in live-cell microscopy.
Colliding molecules and antiparticles
A study by Marcos Barp and Felipe Arretche from Brazil published in EPJ D shows a model of the interaction between positrons and simple molecules that is in good agreement with experimental results.
Discovery of periodic tables for molecules
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) develop tables similar to the periodic table of elements but for molecules.
New method for imaging biological molecules
Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have, together with colleagues from Aalto University in Finland, developed a new method for creating images of molecules in cells or tissue samples.
More Molecules News and Molecules Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: Meditations on Loneliness
Original broadcast date: April 24, 2020. We're a social species now living in isolation. But loneliness was a problem well before this era of social distancing. This hour, TED speakers explore how we can live and make peace with loneliness. Guests on the show include author and illustrator Jonny Sun, psychologist Susan Pinker, architect Grace Kim, and writer Suleika Jaouad.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#565 The Great Wide Indoors
We're all spending a bit more time indoors this summer than we probably figured. But did you ever stop to think about why the places we live and work as designed the way they are? And how they could be designed better? We're talking with Emily Anthes about her new book "The Great Indoors: The Surprising Science of how Buildings Shape our Behavior, Health and Happiness".
Now Playing: Radiolab

The Third. A TED Talk.
Jad gives a TED talk about his life as a journalist and how Radiolab has evolved over the years. Here's how TED described it:How do you end a story? Host of Radiolab Jad Abumrad tells how his search for an answer led him home to the mountains of Tennessee, where he met an unexpected teacher: Dolly Parton.Jad Nicholas Abumrad is a Lebanese-American radio host, composer and producer. He is the founder of the syndicated public radio program Radiolab, which is broadcast on over 600 radio stations nationwide and is downloaded more than 120 million times a year as a podcast. He also created More Perfect, a podcast that tells the stories behind the Supreme Court's most famous decisions. And most recently, Dolly Parton's America, a nine-episode podcast exploring the life and times of the iconic country music star. Abumrad has received three Peabody Awards and was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2011.