A highly selective, colorimetric, and environment-sensitive optical potassium ion sensor†
Potassium ions (K+) play vital roles in many biological processes and thus highly selective sensors for K+ are critical for disease diagnosis and health monitoring. Herein, we report a colorimetric K+ sensor (KS7) in which a hemicyanine dye was used as a fluorophore and phenylaza-crown-6 lariat ether (ACLE) was utilized as a K+ ligand. The maximum absorption peak of KS7 shifted hypsochromically by 77 nm (from 515 to 438 nm) with an isosbestic point at 452 nm upon the addition of K+ to its aqueous solution accompanied by a color change from red to yellow. This sensor exhibited a linear response range to K+ from 1 to 200 mM, indicating its wide detection range for cellular, urinary, and environmental potassium ions. Further, this sensor is solvent-sensitive, implying its environmental sensitivity. For the demonstration of its applications, we prepared filter paper-based K+ test strips, which were used to detect K+ in urine conveniently.