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High-Performance Trichloroacetic Acid Sensor Based on the Intramolecular Hydrogen Bond Formation and Disruption of a Specially Designed Fluorescent o‑Carborane Derivative in the Film State

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journal contribution
posted on 13.04.2021, 17:37 authored by Ke Liu, Gang Wang, Nannan Ding, Jing Zhang, Jinglin Kong, Taihong Liu, Yu Fang
Discriminative and sensitive detection of environmentally important and health-related trichloroacetic acid (TCA) suffers from various problems such as bulky instruments and time-consuming operation as well as complex sample processing. Herein, we present a rapid, sensitive, and specific method for the detection of gaseous TCA using a fluorescent single-molecule array. An o-carborane-based benzothiazole derivative (CB-BT-OCH3) with specific fluorescence properties was specifically designed and utilized to fabricate a film-based single-molecule array. It was revealed that the fluorescent film is photochemically stable and extremely sensitive to TCA vapor, depicting an observable fluorescence color change from green to blue. The experimental detection limit is 0.2 ppm, which is lower than the safety limit (1 ppm) required by the threshold limit values and biological exposure indices. In addition, the film could show detectable intensity change within 0.2 s. On the basis of multiple signal responses, a conceptual two-channel-based fluorescent TCA sensor was developed. Importantly, the proposed conceptual sensor paves a new route to the development of specific fluorescent film-based sensor arrays with a single fluorophore as sensing units.