Two analogues of diphenylethene carrying phenanthrene (1-(9-phenanthryl)-1-phenylethene (PPE)) and anthracene (1-(2-anthryl)-1-phenylethene (APE)) units were used in radical polymerization of styrene (St) and methyl methacrylate (MMA) at 80 degrees C using AIBN as initiator. Because of the nature of the polymerization, the resulting polymers possess the corresponding chromophoric groups. Using the methodology of a DPE system, these labelled polymers were further used for the synthesis of block copolymers. In this way poly(methyl methacrylate)-b-poly(styrene) and poly(methyl methacrylate)-b-poly(acrylonitrile) with molar masses of 60,000-90,000 g/mol were synthesized. Incorporation of the chromophoric groups into both homo- and block copolymers was confirmed by spectral measurements. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.