By overcoming some of the technical and long-standing obstacles, scientists have succeeded in creating what is said to be the brightest fluorescent material in existence,media reported. Researchers have successfully transferred the properties of highfluorescent dyes to solid optical materials, opening up new possibilities for the development of next-generation solar cells to advanced lasers. The study, carried out by scientists at Indiana University and the University of Copenhagen, aims to address the use of fluorescent dyes 150 years ago.
The problem is called quenching, which occurs when the dye is converted to a solid state, which binds the dye tightly together and produces an electron coupling that reduces the brightness of fluorescence. The problem of quenching plagues the vast majority of the more than 100,000 dyes that currently exist.
“When dyes stand side by side in solid state, the problemof quenching and coupling between dyes arises,” said Amar Flood, a chemist at Indiana University and the study’s author. They can’t help ‘touching’ each other. Just as children sit there listening to stories, they interfere with each other and no longer act like adults. “
Flood and his colleagues believe they have found a way to solve the problem by using star-shaped large ring compound molecules to stop the interaction between fluorescent molecules. When this molecule is mixed with colored dyes in a colorless solution, the dye maintains its optical properties when it forms a so-called small molecular ion isolation grid (SMILES). In turn, these lattices can grow into crystals, turn into dry powder, rotate into films and even integrate directly into polymers.
This is a method used in previous studies, but now there is a key difference. Early attempts were to create space between dyes through colored large-ring compound molecules, but the team found that with colorless dyes, fluorescent dyes left the space they needed to accomplish their tasks.
“Some people think colorless large ring compounds are unattractive, but they allow isolated lattices to fully express the bright fluorescence of the dye without being hindered by the color of the large ring compound,” Says Flood.
The team believes these new superbright materials have many possibilities, and notes that solar energy collection, bioimaging, display technology, dimmable materials and lasers are just some of the potential applications. For now, however, researchers still need to continue to study the nature of this structure to lay the groundwork for future practical applications.
“Because these materials are brand new, we don’t know which of their inherent properties provide better functionality,” says Flood. We also don’t know the limits of the material. Therefore, we will need to have a basic understanding of how they work and provide a robust set of design rules for creating new properties. This is essential for putting these materials in the hands of others. “
The study has been published in Chem.