Highly sensitive oligothiophene-phenylamine-based dual-functional fluorescence “turn-on” sensor for rapid and simultaneous detection of Al3+ and Fe3+ in environment and food samples

Developing low-cost and efficient sensors for rapid, selective and sensitive detection of the transition metal ions in environmental and food science is very important. In this study, a novel dual-functional fluorescent “turn-on” sensor 3TP based on oligothiophene-phenylamine Schiff base has been synthesised for discrimination and simultaneous detection of both Al3+ and Fe3+ ions with high selectivity and anti-interference over other metal ions. Sensor 3TP displayed a very fast fluorescence-enhanced response towards Al3+ and Fe3+ ions with low detection limits (0.177?M for Al3+ and 0.172?M for Fe3+) and wide pH response range (4.0-12.0). The Al3+/Fe3+ sensing mechanisms were investigated by fluorescence experiments, 1H NMR titrations, FT-IR and ESI-MS spectra. Importantly, sensor 3TP was served as an efficient solid material for the highly sensitive and selective detection of Fe3+ on TLC plates. Moreover, the sensor 3TP has been successfully used to detect trace Al3+ and Fe3+ in environment and food samples with satisfactory results and good recoveries, revealing a convenient, reliable and accurate method for Al3+ and Fe3+ analysis in real samples.

Authors: Guo Z, Niu Q, Li T. ; Full Source: Spectrochimica Acta Part A: Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy. 2018 Jul 5; 200:76-84. doi: 10.1016/j.saa.2018.04.022. Epub 2018 Apr 11.