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Issue 7, 2013
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A quantum dot-based “off–on” fluorescent probe for biological detection of zinc ions

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Abstract

Since zinc ions play an important role in various physiological activities, developing a facile detection method for Zn2+ is highly desirable. Owing to their superior optical properties, semiconductor quantum dots (QDs) have been developed as a promising alternative for organic fluorophores in fluorescence analysis. In this study, water soluble di-2-picolylamine-dithiolcarbamate (DPA-DTC)/proline-dithiolcarbamate (P-DTC) co-capped CdSe/ZnS QDs as a sensitive and selective “turn-on” fluorescence probe for Zn2+ was reported. The probe was easily obtained via ligand exchange. The initial bright fluorescence of QDs was effectively quenched by DPA-DTC that acted as an effective hole trapper. Upon complexation with Zn2+, the formation of Zn2+–DPA-DTC complex altered the energetic position of the HOMO for DPA-DTC, which rendered it unfavorable for the hole transfer. Thus the QDs PL was switched on. Under optimal conditions, a good linear relationship between the fluorescence response and Zn2+ concentration could be obtained in the range from 0.9 to 16 μM. The limit of detection for Zn2+ was found to be 0.7 μM. Furthermore, the present probe exhibited a high selectivity for Zn2+ over other common metal ions and was successfully used in the detection of Zn2+ in simulated biological fluids.

Graphical abstract: A quantum dot-based “off–on” fluorescent probe for biological detection of zinc ions

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Publication details

The article was received on 24 Nov 2012, accepted on 18 Jan 2013 and first published on 21 Jan 2013


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C3AN36742H
Analyst, 2013,138, 2181-2191

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    A quantum dot-based “off–on” fluorescent probe for biological detection of zinc ions

    H. Xu, Z. Wang, Y. Li, S. Ma, P. Hu and X. Zhong, Analyst, 2013, 138, 2181
    DOI: 10.1039/C3AN36742H

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