Highly selective and sensitive fluorescent zeolitic imidazole frameworks sensor for nitroaromatic explosive detection†
Nitroaromatic explosives, such as 2-4-6 trinitrotoluene (TNT) are dangerous materials that pose safety and environmental risks. Even though many sensors have been reported for the detection of nitroaromatic explosives, a facile, rapid, cost-effective sensor is still sought-after in the field. Here we demonstrate a facile and rapid method to synthesize a fluorescent metal–organic framework for the highly selective and sensitive detection of nitroaromatic explosives. Zeolitic imidazole framework-8 (ZIF-8) is synthesized and enhanced with fluorescent 8-hydroxyquinoline zinc (ZnQ). The synthesized material shows visible colour changes upon exposure to TNT from ivory to light red. In addition, fluorescence quenching is noted under UV illumination when the ZnQ@ZIF-8 is exposed to TNT. The ZnQ@ZIF-8-coated paper sensors show the highest fluorescence quenching at an emission wavelength of 455 nm with TNT concentration as low as 1 ppm. Therefore, the proposed strategy not only offers a fast and convenient protocol for selective detection of TNT but also offers great potential in practical applications, especially for airport/railway security inspection and prevention of terrorist attacks.