Identifying the Stoichiometry of Metal/Ligand Complex by Coupling Spectroscopy and Modelling: a Comprehensive Study on Two Fluorescent Molecules Specific to Lead


Two new chemosensors for lead (II) were synthesized based on 5-((anthracen-9-ylmethylene) amino)quinolin-10-ol (ANQ). ANQ was modified in the para position of the imine group via a methoxy link either with methylmethacrylate (ANQ-MMA) or styrene (ANQ-ST). Complexation of those molecules with Pb2+ was studied at room temperature using UV-Visible absorption and fluorescence spectroscopies. Thanks to the UV-visible absorption spectroscopy, it appeared that ANQ-MMA formed 1:1 and 1:2 complexes with lead (II) and ANQ-ST only 1:1 complex. For both molecules, the fluorescence excitation-emission matrices (EEM) signal intensity increased from 0 to 100 μmol.L−1 of lead (II) followed by a saturation for higher concentrations. The decomposition of the obtained EEMs gave a set of empiric fluorescent components that have been directly linked to the distribution of lead complexes obtained with the UV-visible absorption spectroscopy study. This correlation allowed to evidence metal/ligand complex stoichiometry and emerge as a new method to identify empiric components. Moreover, the two ligands showed a promising selectivity for Pb2+, turning them interesting probes for this hazardous metal.

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This work is part of the PREVENT program financed by the University of Toulon, Toulon-Provence-Méditerranée and the Conseil Départemental du Var, France. The authors acknowledge financial support from the Regional Council of Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur (France) and Academy of Finland.

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Correspondence to Catherine Branger or Véronique Lenoble.

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René, W., Arab, M., Laatikainen, K. et al. Identifying the Stoichiometry of Metal/Ligand Complex by Coupling Spectroscopy and Modelling: a Comprehensive Study on Two Fluorescent Molecules Specific to Lead. J Fluoresc 29, 933–943 (2019).

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  • Metal/ligand complex
  • Spectroscopy
  • Modelling
  • Fluorescent molecules
  • Lead