Formation of pyrene excimers in mesoporous ormosil thin films for visual detection of nitro-explosives

Pinar Beyazkilic, Adem Yildirim, Mehmet Bayindir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


We report the preparation of mesoporous thin films with bright pyrene excimer emission and their application in visual and rapid detection of nitroaromatic explosive vapors. The fluorescent films were produced by physically encapsulating pyrene molecules in the organically modified silica (ormosil) networks which were prepared via a facile template-free sol-gel method. Formation and stability of pyrene excimer emission were investigated in both porous and nonporous ormosil thin films. Excimer emission was significantly brighter and excimer formation ability was more stable in porous films compared to nonporous films. Rapid and selective quenching was observed in the excimer emission against vapors of nitroaromatic molecules; trinitrotoluene (TNT), dinitrotoluene (DNT), and nitrobenzene (NB). Fluorescence quenching of the films can be easily observed under UV light, enabling the naked-eye detection of nitro-explosives. Furthermore, excimer emission signal can be recovered after quenching and the films can be reused at least five times.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4997-5004
Number of pages8
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 9 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • excimer emission
  • nitro-explosive detection
  • organically modified silica
  • porous thin film
  • pyrene

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)


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