The addition of oppositely charged surfactant to fluorescent ionic conjugated polymer forms a polymer-surfactant complex that exhibits at least one improved photophysical property. The conjugated polymer is a fluorescent ionic polymer that typically has at least one ionic side chain or moiety that interacts with the specific surfactant selected. The photophysical property improvements may include increased fluorescence quantum efficiency, wavelength-independent emission and absorption spectra, and more stable fluorescence decay kinetics. The complexation typically occurs in a solution of a polar solvent in which the polymer and surfactant are soluble, but it may also occur in a mixture of solvents. The solution is commonly prepared with a surfactant molecule:monomer repeat unit of polymer ratio ranging from about 1:100 to about 1:1. A polymer-surfactant complex precipitate is formed as the ratio approaches 1:1. This precipitate is recoverable and usable in many forms.
This invention was made with Government support under Contract Number W-7405-ENG-36 awarded by the United States Department of Energy to The Regents of the University of California. The Government has certain rights in the invention.