ChemistryOpen, 2017, vol 6, 2, pp. 266-272
Perylene-3,4,9,10-tetracarboxylic acid diimides (PDIs) have recently gained considerable interest for water-based biosensing applications. PDIs have been studied intensively in the bulk state, but their physical properties in aqueous solution in interplay with side-chain polarity are, however, poorly understood. Therefore, three perylene diimide based derivatives were synthesized to study the relationship between side-chain polarity and their self-assembly characteristics in water. The polarity of the side chains was found to dictate the size and morphology of the formed aggregates. Side-chain polarity rendered the self-assembly and photophysical properties of the PDIs—both important for imminent water-based applications—and these were revealed to be especially responsive to changes in solvent composition.