A novel turn-on fluorescent sensor for the sensitive detection of glutathione via gold nanocluster preparation based on controllable ligand-induced etching†
In this study, we report a facile one-pot chemical etching approach to simply and rapidly prepare gold nanoclusters capped with luminol (Lum-AuNCs) in an alkaline aqueous solution at room temperature. A series of characterization studies have been carried out to explore the morphology, the optical properties and chemical components of Lum-AuNCs. The average diameter of Lum-AuNCs is 1.8 ± 0.3 nm, exhibiting fluorescence near 510 nm upon excitation at 420 nm with a quantum yield of 14.29% and an average fluorescence lifetime of 9.47 ns. On the basis of the ligand-induced etching of glutathione (GSH) to the intermediate (luminol capped gold nanoparticles, abbreviated as Lum-AuNPs), a novel and simple method for the fluorescence determination of GSH has been established. The method displays a good linear response in the range of 0.05–300 μM toward GSH with a limit of detection of 35 nM. This detection strategy with high sensitivity and selectivity facilitates its practical application for the detection of GSH levels in cell extracts. The in vitro cell results illustrate that Lum-AuNCs have good cytocompatibility and can be used to readily differentiate normal cells and tumor cells.