Metal ions with concentrations as low as two parts per million can be detected with ultrasmall fluorescent probes that can be incorporated into wearable sensors. Pavel Anzenbacher Jr. and his co-workers at Bowling Green State University, USA, have synthesized fluorescent attoreactor mats from two different sorts of electrospun nanofibers that bear one of three different fluorophore precursors or a tetraethylene pentamine unit. These mats have the potential to be utilized in wearable sensors, for example, as part of hazmat suits.
The mats (12 ×12 mm) are formed by depositing the amine-bearing and fluorophore-precursor-doped nanofibers to form a rectangular grid. The fluorophore precursor and the amine react to form fluorescent products, and this fluorescence can be quenched by addition of metal ions and recovered upon washing with water. The response of the overall fluorescence of the grid is characteristic for different metal ions.
The mats were also deposited on nitrile gloves, and exposure to a solution of cobalt(II) ions resulted in fluorescence quenching.
Image: © Wiley-VCH
- Toward Wearable Sensors: Fluorescent Attoreactor Mats as Optically Encoded Cross-Reactive Sensor Arrays,
P. Anzenbacher, F. Li, M. A. Palacios,
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2012.
- P. Anzenbacher, F. Li, M. A. Palacios,
Angew. Chem. 2012.