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PVP-templated highly luminescent copper nanoclusters for sensing trinitrophenol and living cell imaging


Copper nanoclusters (CuNCs) exhibit susceptibility to oxidation in the subnanometer size region. In this work, a facile and green protocol is reported for the successful synthesis of water soluble CuNCs, with poly(vinylpyrrolidone) as a template and ascorbic acid as a mild reducing agent. The as-prepared CuNCs exhibit green fluorescence and high quantum yield (QY= 44.67%) in water, which is the highest one among the reported water soluble CuNCs. The highly luminescent origin was also investigated. In addition, the obtained CuNCs show good tolerability to high ionic strength, superior antioxidation property, good photostability, time-stability, large Stokes shift and ultralow cytotoxicity, laying the foundation for living cell imaging in THP-1 macrophage. And bright green fluorescence can be observed from the cells, indicating the potential practicality of CuNCs as a fluorescence marker in bioapplications. Interestingly, the as-prepared CuNCs display a good selective fluorescence quenching response towards trinitrophenol over other nitro compounds. Furthermore, the CuNCs were employed for sensing trinitrophenol based on the inner filter effect. And a good linear relationship was obtained in the low concentration range of trinitrophenol, with a limit of detection of 3.91 × 10-7 M in aqueous medium. This result suggests the potential application of CuNCs as a probe in sensing and monitoring toxic trinitrophenol in the field of environment security.

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Publication details

The article was received on 03 Sep 2018, accepted on 23 Nov 2018 and first published on 30 Nov 2018

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C8NR07142J
Citation: Nanoscale, 2018, Accepted Manuscript
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    PVP-templated highly luminescent copper nanoclusters for sensing trinitrophenol and living cell imaging

    Y. Li, L. Feng, W. Yan, I. Hussain, L. Su and B. Tan, Nanoscale, 2018, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C8NR07142J

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