Cu2+ sensing via noncovalent complexes of fluorescent whitening agents and imidazole-based polymeric dye transfer inhibitors

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Fluorescent whitening agents (FWAs) and polymeric dye transfer inhibitors (DTIs) are widely used in detergent formulations to combat garment yellowing, fading, and discoloration. We report a new application for these inexpensive, mass-produced, laundry additives as sensitive fluorescence “turn-off” sensors for Cu2+. We show that Cu2+-sensitive FWA–DTI complexes form spontaneously when aqueous solutions of FWA and imidazole-based DTI are mixed. We also show that the imidazole groups present in the resulting fluorescent FWA–DTI complex selectively bind Cu2+, a potent fluorescence quencher, to form nonfluorescent FWA–DTI-Cu2+ complexes. Our Cu2+-sensing FWA–DTI complexes are completely water-soluble and have a Cu2+ detection limit of ~ 0.14 μM in water. Our simple approach not only converts the Cu2+-insensitive FWAs into sensitive fluorescent probes for the metal ion but also significantly enhances the brightness of triazinylaminostilbene FWAs. The present study provides a facile, synthesis-free strategy for producing inexpensive fluorescent sensors for Cu2+.

Original languageEnglish
Article number48915
JournalJournal of Applied Polymer Science
Volume137
Issue number17
DOIs
StatePublished - May 5 2020

Keywords

  • applications
  • dyes/pigments
  • molecular recognition
  • optical properties
  • sensors and actuators

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