Effect of polymer host on aggregation induced enhanced emission of fluorescent optical brighteners

Zoe O. G. Schyns, Thomas M. Bennett, Gemma E. Davison, Michael P. Shaver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Fluorophores displaying concentration-dependent luminescence are becoming increasingly valuable in stress-sensing, tagging, and dyeing applications including the quantification of recycled content in plastic packaging. In this work, we investigate the effects of polymer matrix, dye structure, and crystallinity on aggregation-induced enhanced emission (AIEE). We demonstrate that the aggregation threshold required for successful quantification can be adjusted through modulation of guest-host (dye-polymer) interactions and monitored using an array of fluorescence characterisation. Modification of guest-host interactions is realised through choice of host, change of guest, and by tuning the crystallinity of the host system. Increasing the number of guest-host interactions and solubility between guest and host, loosely predicted through the calculation of solubility parameter, increases the aggregation threshold relative to other low-polarity and low-interacting systems. We demonstrate that issues, such as loading level and cost, associated with high aggregation thresholds, can be circumvented by increasing system crystallinity, improving spectral intensities and subsequent quantification. These insights explore the fundamental understanding of supramolecular interactions which govern dye-polymer systems.
Original languageEnglish
JournalACS Applied Polymer Materials
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 18 Jan 2024


  • aggregation induced enhanced emission
  • solubility
  • dyes
  • fluorescence
  • smart materials


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