Spermine detection via metal-mediated ethynylarene 'turn-on' fluorescence signaling

James T. Fletcher, Brent S. Bruck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


A dicarboxylated ethynylarene was shown to behave as a fluorescent chemosensor for millimolar concentrations of polyamines when mixed with Cd(II), Pb(II) or Zn(II) ions at micromolar concentrations. A bathochromic shift and intensification of fluorescence emission was observed with increasing amounts of metal ion in the presence of aqueous polyamines buffered at pH = 7.6. Such perturbations manifested as 'turn-on' signals from a ratiometric comparison of emission intensities at 390 nm versus 340 nm. Using Pb(II) as the metal mediator, spermine was selectively detected as a 40-fold signal enhancement relative to spermidine, putrescine, cadaverine and several other non-biogenic diamines. Evaluation of additional triamine and tetraamine analytes showed the influence that amine group quantity and spacing had on signal generation. By increasing the ratio of Pb(II) relative to ethynylarene, the detection limit for spermine was successfully lowered to a 25 micromolar level. Noncovalent association between ethynylarene, metal ion and polyamine are believed to promote the observed spectroscopic changes. This study exploits the subtle impact that polyamine structural identity has on transition metal chelation to define a new approach toward polyamine chemosensor development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)843-848
Number of pages6
JournalSensors and Actuators, B: Chemical
Issue numberPartA
StatePublished - Feb 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Instrumentation
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Materials Chemistry


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