A white-light-emitting single MOF sensor-based array for berberine homologue discrimination†
With multiple signal channels, array sensing can effectively improve detection selectivity, but at the cost of increasingly complex analytical operation and decreased repeatability. Herein, we propose a “single MOF-based sensor array” in which a white-light-emitting MOF is used to provide multiple response channels with its manifold emission bands to overcome these drawbacks; the potential of this strategy was verified by the discrimination of berberine homologues (a sub-class of isoquinoline-type alkaloids). A white-light-emitting MOF was synthesized by the incorporation of three luminescent ligands into the UiO-66 backbone. With distinct response behaviors, these components could produce a three-channel signal pattern for the analyte. Thus, this MOF realized array sensing with a single measurement of its spectrum. Its discrimination limit for berberine homologues was as low as 2 μM, and by combination with chemical titration, this MOF could identify samples with unknown concentrations. This work demonstrates the advantage of white-light-emitting MOFs in array sensing.