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Fluorescent photoinduced electron transfer (PET) sensors for anions; from design to potential application

journal contribution
posted on 2005-05-01, 00:00 authored by T Gunnlaugsson, H Ali, M Glynn, P Kruger, G Hussey, Fred PfefferFred Pfeffer, C dos Santos, J Tierney
This mini review highlights the synthesis and photophysical evaluation of anion sensors, for nonaqueous solutions, that have been developed in our laboratories over the last few years. We have focused our research mainly on developing fluorescent photoinduced electron transfer (PET) sensors based on the fluorophore-spacer-anion receptor principle using several anthracene (emitting in the blue) and 1,8-naphthalimide (emitting in the green) fluorophores, with the aim of targeting biologically and industrially relevant anions such as acetates, phosphate and amino acids, as well as halides such as fluoride. The receptors and the fluorophore are separated by a short methyl or ethyl spacer, where the charge neutral anion receptors are either aliphatic or aromatic urea (or thiourea) moieties. For these, the anion recognition is through hydrogen bonding, yielding anion:receptor complexes. Such bonding gives rise to enhanced reduction potential in the receptor moieties which causes enhancement in the rate of PET quenching of the fluorophore excited state from the anion:receptor moiety. This design can be further elaborated on by incorporating either two fluorophores, or urea/thiourea receptors into the sensor structures, using anthracene as a fluorophore. For the latter design, the sensors were designed to achieve sensing of bis-anions, such as di-carboxylates or pyrophosphate, where the anion bridged the anthracene moiety. In the case of the naphthalimide based mono-receptor based PET sensors, it was discovered that in DMSO the sensors were also susceptible to deprotonation by anions such as F− at high concentrations. This led to substantial changes in the absorption spectra of these sensors, where the solution changed colour from yellow/green to deep blue, which was clearly visible to the naked eye. Hence, some of the examples presented can act as dual fluorescent-colorimetric sensors for anions. Further investigations into this phenomenon led to the development of simple colorimetric sensors for fluorides, which upon exposure to air, were shown to fix carbon dioxide as bicarbonate.



Journal of fluorescence






287 - 299




Dordrecht, The Netherlands








Online Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal; C Journal article

Copyright notice

2005, Springer Science+Business Media, Inc