Highly-integrated, laser manipulable aqueous metal carbonyl vesicles (MCsomes) with aggregation-induced emission (AIE) and aggregation-enhanced IR absorption (AEIRA)

Nimer Murshid, Ken Ichi Yuyama, San Lien Wu, Kuan Yi Wu, Hiroshi Masuhara, Chien-Lung Wang, Xiaosong Wang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


A highly-integrated, laser manipulable multi-functional metal carbonyl nanovesicle (MCsome) with aggregation-induced emission (AIE) and aggregation-enhanced IR absorption (AEIRA) is created via the self-assembly of a bithiophene tethered-Fp acyl derivative (Fp: CpFe(CO) 2 ) (1). Although 1 is hydrophobic and non-surface-active, the molecule can self-assemble in water into vesicles without detectable critical aggregation concentration (CAC). The water-carbonyl interaction (WCI) is responsible for the colloidal stability. The bilayer membrane structure with the bithiophene moieties associated within the inner wall and the iron-carbonyl units exposed to water is confirmed by transmission electron microscopy (TEM), atomic force microscopy (AFM), and cyclic voltammetry (CV) experiments. The synchrotron small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) experiment suggests that the bithiophene groups are interdigitated within the membrane. The spatial segregation of the AIE-active bithiophene domain from the iron-carbonyl units by the butanoyl spacers prevents the quenching effect of the iron and renders the MCsome photoluminescent. The polarizable iron-carbonyl groups on the surface of the MCsome create an enhanced optical field upon infrared (IR) irradiation, resulting in an enhancement (ca. 100-fold) in IR absorption for the carbonyl groups as compared to the same concentration of molecule 1 in THF. When the MCsome interacts with a focused continuous-wave near-IR (NIR) laser beam, a strong gradient (trapping) force is generated allowing the laser trapping of the MCsome without using additives. A sharp contrast in the refractive index (RI) of 1 (RI = 1.71) with water (RI = 1.33) accounts for this laser manipulability that is difficult to be achieved for nanosized liposomes (RI = 1.46). As illustrated, the MCsome of 1 represents a novel group of vesicular colloids, which is amenable to functional materials complementary to extensively studied liposomes and polymersomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5231-5240
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Materials Chemistry C
Issue number23
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016

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