Selective Detection of Hg2+ Ions with Boron Dipyrromethene-Based Fluorescent Probes Appended with a Bis(1,2,3-triazole)amino Receptor

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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  • Wen-Jing Shi
  • Jian-Yong Liu
  • Pui-Chi Lo
  • Dennis K. P. Ng

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1059-1065
Journal / PublicationChemistry - An Asian Journal
Issue number7
Online published18 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019


By using a copper-promoted alkyne–azide cycloaddition reaction, two boron dipyrromethene (BODIPY) derivatives bearing a bis(1,2,3-triazole)amino receptor at the meso position were prepared and characterized. For the analogue with two terminal triethylene glycol chains, the fluorescence emission at 509 nm responded selectively toward Hg2+ ions, which greatly increased the fluorescence quantum yield from 0.003 to 0.25 as a result of inhibition of the photoinduced electron transfer (PET) process. By introducing two additional rhodamine moieties at the termini, the resulting conjugate could also detect Hg2+ ions in a highly selective manner. Upon excitation at the BODIPY core, the fluorescence emission of rhodamine at 580 nm was observed and the intensity increased substantially upon addition of Hg2+ ions due to inhibition of the PET process followed by highly efficient fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) from the BODIPY core to the rhodamine moieties. The Hg2+-responsive fluorescence change of these two probes could be easily seen with the naked eye. The binding stoichiometry between the probes and Hg2+ ions in CH3CN was determined to be 1:2 by Job′s plot analysis and 1H NMR titration, and the binding constants were found to be (1.2±0.1)×1011 m−2 and (1.3±0.3)×1010 m−2 , respectively. The overall results suggest that these two BODIPY derivatives can serve as highly selective fluorescent probes for Hg2+ ions. The rhodamine derivative makes use of a combined PET-FRET sensing mechanism which can greatly increase the sensitivity of detection.

Research Area(s)

  • boron dipyrromethene, fluorescence resonance energy transfer, mercury sensors, photoinduced electron transfer, rhodamine

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