Chemistry Faculty Publications

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The focus of this study was to demonstrate that, in the luminescent sensors, the signal transduction may possibly be the most important part in the sensing process. Rational design of fluorescent sensor arrays for cations utilizing extended conjugated chromophores attached to 8-hydroxyquinoline is reported. All of the optical sensors utilized in the arrays comprise the same 8-hydroxyquinoline (8-HQ) receptor and various conjugated chromophores to yield a different response to various metal cations. This is because the conjugated chromophores attached to the receptor are partially quenched in their resting state, and upon the cation coordination by the 8-HQ, the resulting metalloquinolinolate complex displays a change in fluorescence. A delicate balance of conjugation, fluorescence enhancement, energy transfer, and a heavy metal quenching effect results in a fingerprint-like pattern of responses for each sensor-cation complex. Principal component analysis (PCA) and linear discriminant analysis (LDA) are used to demonstrate the contribution of individual sensors within the array, information that may be used to design sensor arrays with the smallest number of sensor elements. This approach allows discriminating between 10 cations by as few as two or even one sensor element. Examples of arrays comprising various numbers of sensor elements and their utility in qualitative identification of Ca2+, Mg2+, Cd2+, Hg2+, Co2+, Zn2+, CU2+, Ni2+, Al3+, and Ga3+ ions are presented. A two-member array was found to identify 11 analytes with 100% accuracy. Also the best two of the sensors were tested alone and both were found to be able to discriminate among the samples with 99% and 96% accuracy, respectively. To illustrate the utility of this approach to a real-world application, identification of enhanced soft drinks based on their Ca2+, Mg2+, and Zn2+ cation content was performed. The same approach to reducing array elements was used to construct three- and two-member arrays capable of identifying these complex analytes with 100% accuracy.

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Journal Of The American Chemical Society


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