Fluorescent gels: A review of synthesis, properties, applications and challenges

Yuqiong Li, David James Young, Xian Jun Loh

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


    Soft material gels are important biomaterials for tissue engineering and biomedicine. Fluorescent polymer gels possess the additional property of being light emitting, which endows this type of material with advanced applications in chemical and environmental sensing, photonics, bioimaging, and electrofluorochromic devices. In this review, we provide an overview of the recent development in the field of fluorescent polymer gels, with particular focus on hydrogels, inclusive of methods of synthesis of such gel materials, their mechanisms of fluorescence, physical and chemical properties, and their applications as demonstrated in laboratory studies. In recognition of the diverse chemical structures of fluorescent gel materials, examples of supramolecular fluorescent hydrogels and organogels are also included to provide a comprehensive survey of the development in the field. White-light emitting hydrogels are highlighted in this review due to their unique luminescence property, and their potential function in intelligent information displays. Challenges and future perspectives of this type of material are discussed, keeping in view continuing research efforts to engineer the material for macroscopic production and commercial usages.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1489-1502
    Number of pages14
    JournalMaterials Chemistry Frontiers
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2019


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