The self-assembly of highly stable zirconium(IV)-based coordination cages with aggregation induced emission (AIE) molecular rotors for in vitro bio-imaging is reported. The two coordination cages, NUS-100 and NUS-101, are assembled from the highly stable trinuclear zirconium vertices and two flexible carboxyl-decorated tetraphenylethylene (TPE) spacers. Extensive experimental and theoretical results show that the emissive intensity of the coordination cages can be controlled by restricting the dynamics of AIE-active molecular rotors though multiple external stimuli. Because the two coordination cages have excellent chemical stability in aqueous solutions (pH stability: 2-10) and impressive AIE characteristics contributed by the molecular rotors, they can be employed as novel biological fluorescent probes for in vitro live-cell imaging.
KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: This work was supported by the National Research Founda-tion Singapore (NRF2018-NRF-ANR007 POCEMON), theMinistry of Education—Singapore (MOE AcRF Tier 1 R-279-000-540-114, R-279-000-482-133, Tier 2 MOE2018-T2-2-148), the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (IRGA1783c0015, IAF-PP A1789a0024), National Natural ScienceFoundation of China (No. 21676094 and 21576058), Funda-mental Research Funds for the Central Universities(2017MS083), and the technical support from NationalSupercomputer Center in Guangzhou (Tianhe-2).