A great deal of effort has been devoted to develop easy-to-use fluorescent probes for detecting analytes due to their advantages in the field of chemo- and bio-sensing. Herein, two novel 2,2 '-biindenyl-based derivatives BDM and BDBM containing dicyanovinyl groups have been designed and synthesized, and are shown to possess the remarkable dual properties of solvatochromism and aggregation-induced emission enhancement (AIEE). Importantly, both of them are found to serve as fluorescent indicators for the qualitative and quantitative detection of low-level water in organic solvents. Meanwhile, both BDM and BDBM emit yellowish orange and orange fluorescence, respectively, in their aggregated states. Furthermore, with dicyanovinyl groups as the recognition sites, both compounds can act as colourimetric and fluorescent sensors for highly sensitive and selective detection of cyanide in aqueous media, and the apparent response signals can be observed by the naked eye even in the presence of various interference anions, promising practical applications for detecting cyanide in drinking water. Besides, optical spectroscopic techniques, NMR titration measurements, and density functional theory calculations are conducted to rationalize the sensing mechanisms of the two probes.
2015. Vol. 5, no 16, 12191-12201 p.