Detection and assessment of small-scale damage at early stages are essential for polymeric materials to extend lifetime, avoid catastrophic structural failure, and improve cost-efficiency. Previous self-reporting coatings provide visual indication of surface damage but have been limited to a single layer without information on the depth of crack penetration. Here, we present a novel strategy for autonomous indication of damage in multilayered polymeric materials using aggregation-induced emission luminogens (AIEgens). Three different AIEgens are encapsulated and layered into polymeric coatings. When scratches of varying depths penetrate the coating layers, different combinations of AIEgens are activated to visually detect the depth of damage based on the corresponding fluorescent colors. The AIEgen-based detection mechanism makes this system a powerful tool for damage indication in a variety of polymeric coatings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40361-40365
Number of pages5
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number47
StatePublished - Nov 28 2018


  • aggregation-induced emission
  • autonomous damage detection
  • microcapsule-based composites
  • microscale crack depths
  • multilayered polymeric coatings
  • visual detection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)


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