BODIPY-Based Polymers of Intrinsic Microporosity for the Photocatalytic Detoxification of a Chemical Threat

Ahmet Atilgan, Yassine Beldjoudi, Jierui Yu, Kent O. Kirlikovali, Jacob A. Weber, Jian Liu, Dahee Jung, Pravas Deria, Timur Islamoglu, J. Fraser Stoddart, Omar K. Farha*, Joseph T. Hupp*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Effective heterogeneous photocatalysts capable of detoxifying chemical threats in practical settings must exhibit outstanding device integrity. We report a copolymerization that yields robust, porous, processible, chromophoric BODIPY (BDP; boron-dipyrromethene)-containing polymers of intrinsic microporosity (BDP-PIMs). Installation of a pentafluorophenyl at the meso position of a BDP produced reactive monomer that when combined with 5,5,6,6-tetrahydroxy-3,3,3,3-tetramethyl-1,1-spirobisindane (TTSBI) and tetrafluoroterephthalonitrile (TFTPN) yields PIM-1. Postsynthetic modification of these polymers yields Br-BDP-PIM-1a and -1b─polymers containing bromine at the 2,6-positions. Remarkably, the brominated polymers display porosity and processability features similar to those of H-BDP-PIMs. Gas adsorption reveals molecular-scale porosity and Brunette-Emmet-Teller surface areas as high as 680 m2 g-1. Electronic absorption spectra reveal charge-transfer (CT) bands centered at 660 nm, while bands arising from local excitations, LE, of BDP and TFTPN units are at 530 and 430 nm, respectively. Fluorescence spectra of the polymers reveal a Förster resonance energy-transfer (FRET) pathway to BDP units when TFTPN units are excited at 430 nm; weak phosphorescence at room temperature indicates a singlet-to-triplet intersystem crossing. The low-lying triplet state is well positioned energetically to sensitize the conversion of ground-state (triplet) molecular oxygen to electronically excited singlet oxygen. Photosensitization capabilities of these polymers toward singlet-oxygen-driven detoxification of a sulfur-mustard simulant 2-chloroethyl ethyl sulfide (CEES) have been examined. While excitation of CT and LEBDP bands yields weak catalytic activity (t1/2 > 15 min), excitation to higher energy states of TFTPN induces significant increases in photoactivity (t1/2 ≅ 5 min). The increase is attributable to (i) enhanced light collection, (ii) FRET between TFTPN and BDP, (iii) the presence of heavy atoms (bromine) having large spin-orbit coupling energies that can facilitate intersystem crossing from donor-acceptor CT-, FRET-, or LE-generated BDP singlet states to BDP-related triplet states, and (iv) polymer triplet excited-state sensitization of the formation of CEES-reactive, singlet oxygen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12596-12605
Number of pages10
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number10
StatePublished - Mar 16 2022


  • charge and energy transfers
  • photocatalysis
  • polymers of intrinsic microporosity
  • singlet oxygen
  • sulfur-mustard detoxification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science


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