A polyethylenimine polymer derivatized with pyrene moieties suitable for the fluorescence-based detection of nitroaromatic explosives (NAC) in aqueous systems is described. The system exhibits an exceptionally wide dynamic sensing range of 7 orders of magnitude (from 33 ppt to 225 ppm TNT or Tetryl). This broad range was achieved by the combination of FRET and PET sensing mechanisms in a single material. The sensing material is suitable for a paper strip assay. Simplicity, selectivity, and the wide dynamic range suggest this material for explosives detection in the field.
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