Self-immolative chemistry features a cascade of disassembly reactions in response to external stimuli, which provides great opportunities to design new self-immolative chemosensors with advanced performance and/or functions. Self-immolative spacers in these chemosensors not only facilitate the linkage of designed triggers to various chromophores or fluorophores, but can also be used to solve inherent problems associated with native chemosensors, such as low reactivities, poor stabilities and slow response times. Their capacity for stimuli-responsive release through operation of a self-immolative reaction further enables integration of sophisticated functions into chemosensors, including signal amplification, enzyme activity localization, and drug monitoring. Significant advances have been made in the field of self-immolative chemosensors, leading to intriguing applications to sensitive detection of analytes, bioimaging and cancer theranostics. This tutorial review summarizes this recent progress with a focus on their design strategies and sensing mechanisms.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This investigation was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF), which is funded by the Korean government (MSIP) (No. 2012R1A3A2048814 for J. Y.; No. 2017R1A6A3A04004954 for S. L.). A. Zhang acknowledges the National Natural Science Foundation of China (21574078).
© 2018 The Royal Society of Chemistry.