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A Broad-Range Fluorescence Lifetime pH Sensing Material Based on a Single Organic Fluorophore

  • Christian TotlandEmail author
  • Peter J. Thomas
  • Bodil Holst
  • Naureen Akhtar
  • Jostein Hovdenes
  • Tore Skodvin
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
  • 32 Downloads

Abstract

A general drawback for optical based pH sensors is that their response is typically limited to within 2–3 pH units centered around the pKa of the indicator. Fluorescence lifetime (FL) is a particularly compelling basis for highly stable pH sensors since this is an intrinsic property of the indicator molecule. Here we demonstrate that it is possible to broaden the sensing range of FL based sensors significantly by placing the indicator in a support material where the indicator’s chemical environment itself changes with pH. For acridine immobilized in amine-modified porous silica, a total FL change of 20 ns in the pH range 2–12 is achieved. A linear pH vs FL relationship is observed with three break points occurring at pH 4, 6 and 9 that are related to the pKa values of the indicator and the silica material. This proves the concept that tuning the fluorophore’s chemical environment can broaden the FL pH sensing range, where currently available fluorophores do not cover the full pH range.

Graphical Abstract

Keywords

Acridine Fluorescence lifetime Amine-modified silica pH sensor Solid-state NMR 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The present study was supported by the Research Council of Norway (grant number 269090), and by Aanderaa – a Xylem brand.

Supplementary material

10895_2019_2426_MOESM1_ESM.docx (113 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 113 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ChemistryUniversity of BergenBergenNorway
  2. 2.NGI – Norwegian Geotechnical InstituteOsloNorway
  3. 3.NORCE Norwegian Research Center ASBergenNorway
  4. 4.Department of Physics and TechnologyUniversity of BergenBergenNorway
  5. 5.Aanderaa – a Xylem brandNesttunNorway

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