Benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, the isomers of xylene, and trimethylbenzene are harmful volatile organic compounds and pose risks to human health and the environment. However, there are currently no effective chemosensors for vapors of these compounds. A porous supramolecular host for turn-on fluorogenic and chromogenic detection of the vapors of small aromatic hydrocarbons is presented. The host was constructed from a naphthalenediimide derivative that was supramolecularly connected to tris(pentafluorophenyl)borane. The amorphous powder form of the host allowed for effective accommodation of vapors of small aromatic hydrocarbons, resulting in a guest-dependent fluorescence emission. Increases in the fluorescence yield of 76-, 46-, and 37-fold were observed with toluene, benzene, and m-xylene, respectively. Negligible responses were obtained with common organic solvents. This simple supramolecular host could be applied as a useful sensor of small aromatic hydrocarbon vapors.
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