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Fast Naked-eye Detection of Zinc Ion by Molecular Assembly-assisted Polymerization of Diacetylene


Portable visual detection for environmental monitoring or diagnostic purposes is much anticipated in low-resource settings. Inexpensive device requirements and visualization are key challenges for the development of any portable analysis system. We report herein a new strategy for the portable rapid ion detection technology by the coupling of topochemical polymerization and supramolecular (SM) self-assembly. The rapid sol-gel or gel-sol phase transition of SM hydrogels have been widely applied for the detection of many important analytes including metal ions. However, one problem that remains is the difficulty to accurately quantify the degree of self-assembly by naked eye. To address the problem, we designed a diacetylene-grafted peptide that can be polymerized following self-assembly into hydrogel triggered by zinc ions. Before adding zinc ion, the molecules dissolved well in aqueous solution, arranged randomly, and were unable to be polymerized through UV light irradiation. After mixing with zinc ions, the peptide chelated with zinc ions immediately and self-assembled into a SM hydrogel. The molecules arranged orderly and could be easily polymerized through irradiation of a hand-held UV lamp within less than 2 minutes. The hydrogel showed a quick and sharp chromatic change from colorless to dark blue, which allowed the quantification of self-assembly (ie. concentration of zinc ion) by naked eye. In addition, the monomers were insensitive to light, pH and temperature changes, which was a highly desired characteristic in practical applications.

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Publication details

The article was received on 11 Jul 2018, accepted on 10 Sep 2018 and first published on 11 Sep 2018

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C8NR05578E
Citation: Nanoscale, 2018, Accepted Manuscript
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    Fast Naked-eye Detection of Zinc Ion by Molecular Assembly-assisted Polymerization of Diacetylene

    Y. Zhang, Y. Pan, Y. Wang, D. Guo, J. Gao and Z. Yang, Nanoscale, 2018, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C8NR05578E

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