A facile and in situ approach to fluorescent mesoporous silica and its applications in sensing and bioimaging†
A facile approach for the synthesis of fluorescent mesoporous silica (FMS) is reported. The FMS could be achieved in situ through a mild hydrothermal reaction between easily obtained 3-(2-aminoethylamino) propyltrimethoxysilane functionalized SBA-15 and citric acid. This resulting material shows strong and stable fluorescence while preserving good mesoporous structures. The developed approach is simple and has a potential to be applied for scaled-up preparation. Importantly, the resulted FMS exhibit simultaneous Hg2+ detection and removal properties, low cytotoxicity and excellent cell imaging capability. These advantageous features demonstrate many potential applications such as in sensing and adsorption of contaminants, bioimaging, drug delivery and tracking.