A fluorescence-enhanced sensor based on aggregation-induced emission (AIE) was synthesized using a di(2-picolyl)amine (DPA) group as a highly selective metal chelating agent for Zn2+. The combination of the probe and Zn2+ was achieved in an environment where the volume fraction of water was 90%, giving the probe good biocompatibility, and a large Stokes shift (100 nm) occurred after Zn2+ was combined with the probe. The obvious color change makes the probe visible to the naked eye, and gives it a high signal-to-noise ratio, and high contrast, and minimizes self-absorption. Because of the high selectivity of the DPA group to Zn2+, the sensitivity of the probe to detect Zn2+ has been improved. The mechanism of the formation of complexes between the probe and Zn2+ was confirmed by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR), high-resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS), and particle size distribution. Under the optimal experimental conditions, the linear fluorescence reaction of Zn2+ was good, between 0.2 and 18 μM, and the detection limit was 1.3 × 10−7 M. The low toxicity and excellent membrane permeability of the probe in living cells enable it to be efficiently applied for Zn2+ imaging in cells.
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Yan, L., Wen, X. & Fan, Z. A large-Stokes-shift fluorescent probe for Zn2+ based on AIE, and application in live cell imaging. Anal Bioanal Chem 412, 1453–1463 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00216-019-02378-w
- Fluorescent probe
- Stokes shift
- Cell imaging