Multi-emission metal–organic framework composites for multicomponent ratiometric fluorescence sensing: recent developments and future challenges
Ratiometric fluorescence sensors that are achieved via the ratiometric fluorescence intensity changes of emission peaks based on multi-emission fluorescence probes show a huge advantage. However, the preparation of these multi-emission fluorescence probes is a key challenge, as it is related to having more fluorescence groups with the same excitation but different emission wavelengths, and their assembly is not a simple mixing process. More fluorescent groups or molecules can be assembled into the multi-emission fluorescence probe by covalent bonds and coordination interactions, or by loading in metal–organic frameworks (MOFs). MOFs are excellent candidates for constructing complexes with the capability of multicomponent ratiometric fluorescence sensing, but there are some problems that need to be considered. For example, not all fluorophores can be stably loaded in the MOFs’ pores, usually due to the size, surface charge and intrinsic properties of the fluorophore. In turn, it is also related to the structure of the MOF, metal nodes, and properties of the organic ligands. This review first introduces the advantages of the MOF-based multi-component fluorescence sensors, and then discusses the synthesis, classification and application of fluorescent MOFs or MOF composites for multi-component ratiometric fluorescence detection. Particular emphasis is focused on the potential, types and characteristics for sensing and biological applications, and the main challenges and limitations are further explored. This review might be helpful for those researchers interested in the application of multi-component ratiometric fluorescence sensing based on fluorescent MOFs or MOF composites.