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Aggregation-Induced FRET via Polymer–Surfactant Complexation: A New Strategy for the Detection of Spermine

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journal contribution
posted on 20.06.2016, 00:00 by Akhtar Hussain Malik, Sameer Hussain, Parameswar Krishnan Iyer
A new water-soluble cationic conjugated polymer [9,9-bis­(6′-methyl imidazolium bromide)­hexyl)­fluorene-co-4,7-(2,1,3-benzothiadiazole)] (PFBT-MI) was designed and synthesized via Suzuki cross-coupling polymerization in good yields without any tedious purification steps. PFBT-MI showed excellent photophysical responses toward SDS and SDBS with a detection limit of 0.12 μM/(34 ppb) and 0.13 μM/(45 ppb), respectively. Furthermore, occurrence of FRET from the donor (fluorene) to acceptor (BT units), via surfactant-induced aggregation, results in naked-eye detection of these common anionic surfactants (SDS/SDBS) as the color changes from blue to yellowish green in aqueous solution. The polymer–surfactant nanoaggregates thus formed via electrostatic as well as hydrophobic interactions have been explored for the sensitive detection of spermine (considered as an excellent biomarker for early cancer diagnosis) with a detection limit of 66 ppb (0.33 μM), which is much below the range 1–10 μM pertinent for the early diagnosis of cancer in urinary samples. This highly sensitive technique would facilitate the direct and noninvasive detection of spermine from urine rapidly and is likely to have great significance in early cancer diagnosis.