Dual colorimetric and fluorescent sensor based on semiconducting polymer dots for ratiometric detection of lead ions in living cells

Shih Yu Kuo, Hsiang Hau Li, Pei Jing Wu, Chuan Pin Chen, Ya Chi Huang, Yang-Hsiang Chan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

75 Scopus citations

Abstract

Recently, semiconducting polymer dots (Pdots) have become a novel type of ultrabright fluorescent probes which hold great promise in biological imaging and analytical detection. Here we developed a visual sensor based on Pdots for Pb2+ detection. We first embedded near-infrared (NIR) dyes into the matrix of poly[(9,9-dioctylfluorene)-co-2,1,3-benzothiadiazole-co-4,7-di(thiophen-2-yl)-2,1,3-benzothiadiazole] (PFBT-DBT) polymer and then capped the Pdots with polydiacetylenes (PDAs), in which parts of the PDAs were prefunctionalized with 15-crown-5 moieties to form Pdots. The high selectivity of these Pdots for lead ions is attributed to the formation of 2:1 15-crown-5-Pb2+-carboxylate sandwich complex on the Pdot surface. After Pb2+ chelation, the conjugation system of the PDA was perturbed and strained, causing a chromatic change of the PDA from blue to red. At the same time, the encapsulated NIR dyes were liable to leach out that resulted in an emission variation of the Pdots. Accordingly, lead ions can be recognized by either color change or emission variation of the Pdots. We also loaded these nanoprobes into live HeLa cells through endocytosis, and then monitored changes in Pb2+ levels within cells, demonstrating their utility for use in cellular and bioimaging applications. In addition, we fabricated easy-to-prepare test strips impregnated with Pdot-poly(vinyl alcohol) films to identify Pb2+ in real samples, which proved their applicability for in situ on-site detection. Our results suggest that this Pdot-based visual sensor shows promising potential for advanced environmental and biological applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4765-4771
Number of pages7
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Volume87
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - 5 May 2015

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