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Changing functionalities of materials using simple methods is an active area of research, as it is "green" and lowers the developing cost of new products for the enterprises. A new small molecule racemic N,N-dimethyl aspartic acid has been prepared. Its structure is determined by single-crystal X-ray diffraction. It is characterized by FTIR, XPS, 1 H NMR, and mass spectroscopy. Its near-infrared luminescence can be enhanced by the combination of metal ions, including Dy3+, Gd3+, Nd3+, Er3+, Sr3+, Y3+, Zn2+, Zr4+, Ho3+, Yb3+, La3+, Pr6+/Pr3+, and Sm3+ ions. An optical chemistry mechanism upon interaction between the sensitizer and activator is proposed. Furthermore, the association of Ca2+, Sr2+, or Zr4+ ions to the molecule enhanced its photodegradation for dyes under white-light irradiation. Specifically, rhodamine 6G can be degraded by the Ca2+-modified molecule; rhodamine B, rhodamine 6G, and fluorescein sodium salt can be degraded by the Sr2+- or Zr4+-modified molecule. This surprising development opens a way in simultaneously increasing NIR luminescence and the ability of dye photodegradation for the investigated molecule.

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