Core-shell fluorescent silica nanoparticles for sensing near-neutral pH values
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pH-responsive fluorescent core-shell silica nanoparticles (SiNPs) were prepared by encapsulating the pH-sensitive fluorophore 8-hydroxypyrene-1,3, 6-trisulfonate into their silica shell via a facile reverse microemulsion method. The resulting SiNPs were characterized by SEM, TEM, fluorescence lifetime spectroscopy, photobleaching experiments, and photoluminescence. The core-shell structure endows the SiNPs with reduced photobleaching, excellent photostability, minimized solvatachromic shift, and increased fluorescence efficiency compared to the free fluorophore in aqueous solution. The dynamic range for sensing pH ranges from 5.5 to 9.0. The nanosensors show excellent stability, are highly reproducible, and enable rapid detection of pH. The results obtained with the SiNPs are in good agreement with data obtained with a glass electrode.
KeywordsWater-in-oil microemulsion Fluorescent core-shell silica nanoparticles pH sensing Single-particle laboratories
F. Gao is grateful for the financial support from the Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 20705001, 21055001), the Key Project of Educational Committee of Anhui Province (Grant No.KJ2007A008), and Starting Foundation for PhD of Anhui Normal University.
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