Light is of vital importance to the whole universe and all living beings. The development of luminescent materials has received much attention and has led to life-changing technological innovations. Aggregation-induced emission (AIE) is a unique photophysical phenomenon that is diametrically opposed to the notorious aggregation-caused quenching (ACQ) effect commonly observed in conventional luminophore systems. We coined the new concept of AIE in 2001.1 The luminogens with AIE attribute (AIEgens) are weakly luminescent or completely non-emissive when they are molecularly dissolved in good solvents but become highly emissive when they are aggregated in solid state or aqueous media.2 Through systematic experimental investigations and theoretical simulations, we have rationalized that the restriction of intramolecular motions (RIM) in the aggregates is responsible for the AIE effect. The AIEgen aggregates show large absorptivity, efficient luminescence, strong photostability, excellent biocompatibility, etc. The AIEgens are practically very useful and have found high-tech applications in a great variety of areas, such as optoelectronics, chemosensing, bioimaging, microenvironment visualization, pathogen detection, organelle differentiation, long-term cellular tracking and biological process monitoring.3–5
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