Making pyrophosphate visible: the first precipitable and real-time fluorescent sensor for pyrophosphate in aqueous solution†
An in situ generated BINOL–DPA–Zn(II) complex is presented as a chemo-sensing ensemble for the recognition of phosphate-based molecules. The ensemble showed high sensitivity and selectivity for pyrophosphates (PPi), and it could be successfully applied in imaging PPi in living cells. Notably, the R1–Zn(ii) ensemble exhibited a very low detection limit (95 nM) for PPi and could realize the real time detection of PPi by the naked eye through precipitate experiments. The ensemble also showed good selectivity towards ATP, and the selectivity coefficient for PPi and ATP was calculated to be 4.1/2.8.