Cd(ii)–nucleobase supramolecular metallo-hydrogels for in situ growth of color tunable CdS quantum dots†
The integration of nanoscale materials into unconventional environments such as gels is a magnificent strategy towards development of engineered hybrid functional systems. Herein, the in situ formation of CdS quantum dots integrated into a metallogel formed through the coordination of Cd2+ with two pyrimidine nucleobases is reported. Thymine and uracil formed spontaneous hydrogels with nanofibrous morphology through coordinative interaction with Cd2+ ions at alkaline pH. Introduction of Na2S resulted in generation of CdS quantum dots within the hydrogels with tunable emission properties from blue to white to yellow. The quenching of emission of white light system was exploited for the sensing of Fe3+ and Cu2+ ions. Such a color tunable quantum dot incorporated metallogel system will find applications in energy harvesting and sensing.