A fully-aqueous red-fluorescent probe for selective optical sensing of Hg2+ and its application in living cells

Murali Krishna Pola, Mandapati V. Ramakrishnam Raju, Chein Ming Lin, Raghunath Putikam, Ming Chang Lin, Chandra Prakash Epperla, Huan Cheng Chang, San Yuan Chen, Hong Cheu Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


A new red-fluorescent mercury ion sensor material is designed and synthesized, which is composed of a tweezer-shaped hydrophilic probe containing bifurcated soft-base atoms N and S coupled with 2-dicyanomethylene-3-cyano-4,5,5-trimethyl-2,5-dihydrofuran (TCF) unit. By virtue of the strong electron-accepting nature of TCF unit (as a push-pull chromophore), this designed sensor material can selectively detect Hg2+ over various tested metal ions in a 100% aqueous medium via naked-eye and photoluminescence (PL) observations. Theoretical and time-resolved photoluminescence measurements further confirmed the selectivity and reversibility of the probe towards Hg2+ via intramolocular charge transfer mechanism in this sensor material. Moreover, the living cell tests by confocal fluorescence images of this sensor material towards Hg2+ were also investigated. Finally, distinguished absorption changes and fluorescence quenching spectral appearances allowed us to present the selective optical indicator of Hg2+ via TCF moiety for the first time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)256-265
Number of pages10
JournalDyes and Pigments
StatePublished - Jul 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) in Taiwan for the financial supports of this project through MOST 103-2113-M-009-018-MY3 and MOST 103-2221-E-009-215-MY3 .


  • Aqueous medium
  • ICT
  • Living cell
  • Push-pull chromophore


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