Microchimica Acta

, 185:284 | Cite as

Water-soluble polymer dots formed from polyethylenimine and glutathione as a fluorescent probe for mercury(II)

  • Dan Luo
  • Shi Gang Liu
  • Nian Bing Li
  • Hong Qun Luo
Original Paper


Water-soluble fluorescent polymer dots (PDs) were prepared from polyethylenimine and glutathione and are shown to be viable fluorescent probes for selective and sensitive determination of Hg(II). The PDs possess bright blue fluorescence (with excitation/emission peaks at 340/462 nm) which is quenched on addition of Hg(II). Based on these findings, a fluorometric assay was worked out. Fluorescence linearly drops in the 0.1 to 100 μM Hg(II) concentration range, and the limit of detection is 32 nM.

Graphical abstract

The fluorescence of polymer dots prepared from glutathione and polyethyleimine (G-PEI PDs) is selectively quenched by Hg2+, and this finding was applied to the determination of Hg2+ in environmental water samples.


Hg2+ analysis Environmental samples Industrial waste water Heavy metal ions Electron transfer Stern-Volmer plot Non-conjugated polymers Dynamic quenching 



Authors deeply acknowledge financial support for this work from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 21675131), the Municipal Science Foundation of Chongqing City (CSTC-2015jcyjB50001), and the National Undergraduate Training Program for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (No.201610635036).

Compliance with ethical standards

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

Supplementary material

604_2018_2817_MOESM1_ESM.doc (324 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 328 KB)


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Eco-environments in Three Gorges Reservoir Region (Ministry of Education), School of Chemistry and Chemical EngineeringSouthwest UniversityChongqingPeople’s Republic of China

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