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J Am Chem Soc. 2002 Dec 4;124(48):14388-96.

Placement and characterization of pairs of luminescent molecules in spatially separated regions of nanostructured thin films.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California, Los Angeles, California 90095, USA.


Methods of making mesostructured sol-gel silicate thin films containing two different molecules deliberately placed in two different spatially separated regions in a one-step, one-pot preparation are developed and demonstrated. When the structure-directing agent is the surfactant cetyltrimethylammonium bromide, the structure is 2-D hexagonal with lattice spacings between 31.6 and 42.1 angstroms depending on the dopant molecules and their concentrations. The three general strategies that are used to place the molecules are philicity (like dissolves like), bonding, and bifunctionality. These strategies take advantage of the different chemical and physical properties of the regions of the films. These regions are the inorganic silicate framework, the hydrophobic organic interior of the micelles, and the ionic interface between them. Luminescent molecules that possess the physical and chemical properties appropriate for the desired strategies are chosen. Lanthanide and ruthenium complexes with condensable trialkoxysilane groups are incorporated into the silicate framework. 1,4-Naphthoquinone, pyrene, rhodamine 6G and coumarin 540A, and lanthanides with no condensable trialkoxysilanes occupy the hydrophobic core of micelles by virtue of their hydrophobicity. The locations of the molecules are determined by luminescence spectroscopy and by luminescence lifetime measurements. In all cases, the long-range order templated into the thin film is verified by X-ray diffraction. The simultaneous placement of two molecules in the structured film and the maintenance of long-range order require a delicate balance among film preparation methodology, design of the molecules to be incorporated in specific regions, and concentrations of all of the species.

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