Microchimica Acta

, 186:29 | Cite as

Aluminum(III) triggered aggregation-induced emission of glutathione-capped copper nanoclusters as a fluorescent probe for creatinine

  • Roghayeh Jalili
  • Alireza Khataee
Original Paper


Glutathione-capped copper nanoclusters (CuNCs) are presented that display aggregation-induced emission (AIE). This feature was exploited for selective and sensitive quantification of creatinine (CRN) which is an important diagnostic parameter. In the presence of Al3+ ions, such CuNCs rapidly aggregate, and this induces enhanced a red emission. The AIE nature of CuNCs was proven via TEM and fluorimetry. On addition of CRN, the coordination between CRN and Al3+ ions led to the quenching of fluorescence due to weakening the AIE. The best fluorescence intensity was measured at excitation/emission peaks of 360/585 nm. Quenched fluorescence intensity showed a linear dependence on the concentrations of CRN in the range of 2.5–34 μgL−1 with a detection limit of 0.63 μgL−1. The sensing mechanism of probe for CRN detection is discussed. The probe was applied to the determination of CRN in spiked human serum samples and gave satisfactory results.

Graphical abstract

Aluminum(III) ions trigger the aggregation-induced emission (AIE) in glutathione-capped copper nanoclusters (CuNCs). Introduction of creatinine leads to deaggregation of CuNC aggregates, and this is accompanied by the quenching of the luminescence. This phenomenon was exploited in an assay for creatinine.


Fluorescent nanomaterials Fluorometry Metal nanoclusters Nanosensor Nanoprobe Paired t-test Renal biomarker Real sample analysis Serum analysis 



Authors thank the University of Tabriz for the support provided. Roghayeh Jalili as a postdoc researcher gratefully acknowledges use of the services and facilities of the University of Tabriz.

Compliance with ethical standards

The author(s) declare that they have no competing interests.

Supplementary material

604_2018_3111_MOESM1_ESM.docx (381 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 381 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Laboratory of Advanced Water and Wastewater Treatment Processes, Department of Applied Chemistry, Faculty of ChemistryUniversity of TabrizTabrizIran
  2. 2.Health Promotion Research CenterIran University of Medical SciencesTehranIran
  3. 3.Department of Materials Science and Nanotechnology Engineering, Faculty of EngineeringNear East UniversityMersin 10Turkey

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