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J Am Chem Soc. 2003 Sep 17;125(37):11154-5.

A comparison of crystalline- and graft polymer-based chemosensors.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA.


Herein, we report a highly sensitive luminescent thin film chemosensor constructed out of a small-molecule donor/acceptor system. Two types of films were compared: one using a small-molecule crystalline donor/acceptor pair and the other using a donor-graft polymer/small-molecule acceptor pair. The acceptor selected for this proof of concept responds to acid, causing its absorption and emission bands to red-shift, which increases spectral overlap with the donor. This increase in overlap greatly enhances energy transfer from the acceptor to the donor. Signal amplification was ascertained by measuring the ratio of acceptor fluorescence when the donor was excited versus direct excitation of the acceptor. Both types of films exhibited large amplification. For the polymeric system, the mechanism of energy migration was investigated by the use of steady-state fluorescence spectroscopy. The mechanism was determined to be dominated by an exciton-hopping process.

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