Visualization and Manipulation of Molecular Motion in Solid State through Photo-Induced Clusteroluminescence

Building molecular machine has long been a dream of scientists as it is expected to revolutionize many aspects of technology and medicine. Implementing the solid-state molecular motion is the prerequisite for a practical molecular machine. However, few works on solid-state molecular motion have been reported and it is almost impossible to “see” the motion even if it happens. Here the light-driven molecular motion in solid state is discovered in two non-conjugated molecules s-DPE and s-DPE-TM, resulting in the formation of excited-state though-space complex (ESTSC). Meanwhile, the newly formed ESTSC generates an abnormal visible emission which is termed as clusteroluminescence. Notably, the original packing structure can recover from ESTSC when the light source is removed. These processes have been confirmed by time-resolved spectroscopy and quantum mechanics calculation. This work provides a new strategy to manipulate and “see” solid-state molecular motion and gains new insights into the mechanistic picture of clusteroluminescence.