Background: Photoluminescent materials have been used for diverse applications in thefields of science and engineering, such as optical storage, biological labeling, noninvasive imaging,solid-state lasers, light-emitting diodes, theranostics/theragnostics, up-conversion lasers, solar cells,spectrum modifiers, photodynamic therapy remote controllers, optical waveguide amplifiers andtemperature sensors. Nanosized luminescent materials could be ideal candidates in these applications.
Objective: This review is to present a brief overview of photoluminescent nanofibers obtainedthrough electrospinning and their emission characteristics.
Methods: To prepare bulk-scale nanosized materials efficiently and cost-effectively, electrospinningis a widely used technique. By the electrospinning method, a sufficiently high direct-current voltageis applied to a polymer solution or melt; and at a certain critical point when the electrostatic forceovercomes the surface tension, the droplet is stretched to form nanofibers. Polymer solutions or meltswith a high degree of molecular cohesion due to intermolecular interactions are the feedstock. Subsequentcalcination in air or specific gas may be required to remove the organic elements to obtainthe desired composition.
Results: The luminescent nanofibers are classified based on the composition, structure, and synthesismaterial. The photoluminescent emission characteristics of the nanofibers reveal intriguing featuressuch as polarized emission, energy transfer, fluorescent quenching, and sensing. An overview of theprocess, controlling parameters and techniques associated with electrospinning of organic, inorganicand composite nanofibers are discussed in detail. The scope and potential applications of these luminescentfibers also conversed.
Conclusion: The electrospinning process is a matured technique to produce nanofibers on a largescale. Organic nanofibers have exhibited superior fluorescent emissions for waveguides, LEDs andlasing devices, and inorganic nanofibers for high-end sensors, scintillators, and catalysts. Multifunctionalitiescan be achieved for photovoltaics, sensing, drug delivery, magnetism, catalysis, andso on. The potential of these nanofibers can be extended but not limited to smart clothing, tissueengineering, energy harvesting, energy storage, communication, safe data storage, etc. and it isanticipated that in the near future, luminescent nanofibers will find many more applications in diversescientific disciplines.