Fluorescent Molecular Rotors for Viscosity Sensors

Seung Chul Lee, Jeongyun Heo, Hee Chul Woo, Ji Ah Lee, Young Hun Seo, Chang Lyoul Lee, Sehoon Kim, O. Pil Kwon

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

129 Citations (Scopus)


Fluorescent molecular rotors (FMRs) can act as viscosity sensors in various media including subcellular organelles and microfluidic channels. In FMRs, the rotation of rotators connected to a fluorescent π-conjugated bridge is suppressed by increasing environmental viscosity, resulting in increasing fluorescence (FL) intensity. In this minireview, we describe recently developed FMRs including push–pull type π-conjugated chromophores, meso-phenyl (borondipyrromethene) (BODIPY) derivatives, dioxaborine derivatives, cyanine derivatives, and porphyrin derivatives whose FL mechanism is viscosity-responsive. In addition, FMR design strategies for addressing various issues (e.g., obtaining high FL contrast, internal FL references, and FL intensity-contrast trade-off) and their biological and microfluidic applications are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13706-13718
Number of pages13
JournalChemistry - A European Journal
Issue number52
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Sept 18


  • fluorescence dynamics
  • fluorescent molecular rotors
  • microviscosity
  • molecular rotors
  • viscosity sensors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Organic Chemistry


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