A simple Schiff base as dual-responsive fluorescent sensor for bioimaging recognition of Zn 2+ and Al 3+ in living cells

Haiyang Liu, Tianqi Liu, Jia Li, Youming Zhang, Jiahua Li, Jun Song, Junle Qu, Wai Yeung Wong

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


A simple Schiff base fluorescent sensor (BDNOL) was synthesized from the reaction of picolinohydrazide and 4-(diethylamino)salicylaldehyde, and developed for selective detection of Al 3+ and Zn 2+ . This non-fluorescent sensor displayed obvious fluorescence enhancement after binding to Al 3+ /Zn 2+ ions with high sensitivity and selectivity, accompanied by obvious fluorescence emission enhancement (504 nm for Al 3+ and 575 nm for Zn 2+ ). The detection limits were found to be 8.30 × 10 -8 M for Al 3+ and 1.24 × 10 -7 M for Zn 2+ . The binding mechanisms between BDNOL and Al 3+ /Zn 2+ ions were supported by 1 H NMR and HR-MS analysis, and a density functional theory (DFT) study. The sensing behavior was also studied with molecular logic functions of OR, AND, and NOT gates. Furthermore, the fluorescent sensor was successfully used to recognize Al 3+ and Zn 2+ in living cells, suggesting that this simple biosensor has great potential in biological imaging applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5435-5442
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Materials Chemistry B
Issue number34
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Materials Science(all)

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