An inexpensive and sensitive turn-on luminescence protocol for sensing formaldehyde†
Formaldehyde (FA), the simplest and most widely-used aldehyde, can pose serious health issues when present at elevated concentrations. Here, we report a “turn-on” terbium photoluminescence method for the efficient detection of FA. A pro-sensitizer molecule was designed and synthesised, which releases the sensitizer in the presence of FA inside the terbium cholate hydrogel matrix, resulting in a “turn-on” luminescence response. The introduction of a paper-based sensing approach makes the protocol simpler and cost-effective, and has a detection limit as low as 100 nM.