Luminescent ZnO quantum dots as an efficient sensor for free chlorine detection in water†
Highly luminescent ZnO quantum dots (QDs) synthesized via a simple and facile route are used for the preparation of an optical sensor for the detection of free chlorine. The concentration of free chlorine greatly affects the PL emission of the ZnO QDs at 525 nm. Since hypochlorite gains electrons with high efficiency, it takes electrons from the oxygen vacancies of ZnO QDs, which gives rise to defect emission in ZnO QDs. UV-vis data analysis shows that free chlorine does not affect the optical absorption spectra of ZnO QDs. The optical sensing of free chlorine using ZnO QDs has several advantages, like quick response time, good selectivity and of course high sensitivity. The pH has very little effect on the PL emission of ZnO QDs. It does not interfere in the sensing mechanism for free chlorine. After 60 s, the response of the ZnO QDs remains stable. The present sensor shows high selectivity with respect to various common cations, as well as anions.