Fabrication of Stable and Luminescent Copper Nanocluster-Based AIE Particles and Their Application in β‑Galactosidase Activity Assay
journal contributionposted on 01.09.2017 by Meizhi Zhao, Zhaosheng Qian, Mengting Zhong, Zhentian Chen, Hang Ao, Hui Feng
Any type of content formally published in an academic journal, usually following a peer-review process.
Thiolated copper nanoclusters (CuNCs) with aggregation-induced emission characteristic are becoming a novel luminescent material, but it is still a challenging task to retain its bright luminescence in a neutral solution. In this work, we report a new copper nanocluster with aggregation-induced emission (AIE) enhancement property using a hydrophobic molecule as the protecting ligand, and brightly luminescent AIE particles of copper nanocluster were prepared via hydrophobic interaction. These CuNCs AIE particles possess uniform rod-like shapes, with sizes in hundreds of nanometer, and an intense luminescence; more importantly, its luminescence remains stable in neutral and alkaline solutions. It is found that 4-nitrophenol is able to effectively quench the luminescence of CuNC AIE particles through strong hydrophobic interaction and electron transfer between them. This strong quenching effect was adopted to develop a luminescent assay for β-galactosidase at physiological condition. This work presents a demonstration of preparing CuNC AIE particles with bright luminescence at neutral condition and gives an example of the use of AIE particles in monitoring the enzyme activity.