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Fine tuning the optical properties of lanthanide-based gels using low molecular weight gelators has several advantages over the polymeric gelator analogues. Herein, we have prepared a lanthanide-based gel using low molecular weight citric acid as the assembler ligand and the optical properties of the gel were fine-tuned, utilizing a mixed ligand approach, enabling white light emission and environmental sensing (pH and temperature). The coligand utilized in the study was 4'-(4-bromophenyl)-2,2':6',2''-terpyridine. The resultant mixed-ligand gel exhibited green and red emissions in the presence of Tb(iii) ions and Eu(iii) ions, respectively. White light emission was achieved, with CIE coordinates (0.33, 0.32), in the bimetallic Tb/Eu metallogel formed by the precise control over Tb/Eu ratio. The correlated color temperature (CCT) for white-light-emitting gel was calculated, and the value of 5473 K suggests that the system generates cool white light. While most of the reported low molecular weight gelators exhibit on-off responses to stimulus at a particular value, the present system is capable of gradually monitoring changes for stimuli such as pH and temperature over a wide range (pH from 4-11 and temperature from 20 to 70 °C). The unique design strategy of the gel and the characteristic physicochemical properties of the lanthanide ions resulted in the unprecedented ability of the system to monitor changes in environmental stimuli over a considerable range.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Soft matter
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