Effect of solvent-controlled aggregation on the intrinsic emission properties of PAMAM dendrimers

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Solvent-induced aggregation and its effect on the intrinsic emission properties of amine, hydroxy and carboxylate terminated, poly(amidoamine) (PAMAM) dendrimers have been investigated in glycerol, ethylene glycol, methanol, ethylene diamine and water. Altering the solvent medium induces remarkable changes in the intrinsic emission properties of the PAMAM dendrimers at identical concentration. Upon excitation at 370 nm, amine terminated PAMAM dendrimer exhibits an intense emission at 470 nm in glycerol, ethylene glycol as well as glycerol-water mixtures. Conversely, weak luminescence is observed for hydroxy and carboxylate terminated PAMAM dendrimers in the same solvent systems. When the solvent is changed to ethylene diamine, hydroxy terminated PAMAM exhibits intense blue emission at 425 nm. While the emission intensity is varied when the solvent milieu is changed, excited state lifetime values of PAMAM dendrimers remain independent of the solvent used. UV-visible absorption and dynamic light scattering (DLS) experiments confirm the formation of solvent-controlled dendrimer aggregates in the systems. Comparison of the fluorescence and DLS data reveals that the size distribution of the dendrimer aggregates in each solvent system is distinct, which control the intrinsic emission intensity from PAMAM dendrimers. The experimental results suggest that intrinsic emission intensity from PAMAM dendrimers can be regulated by proper selection of solvents at neutral conditions and room temperature. © 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Aggregation, Intrinsic emission, PAMAM dendrimer, Solvation effect