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Highly selective fluorescent chemosensor for Zn2+ derived from inorganic-organic hybrid magnetic core/shell Fe3O4@SiO2 nanoparticles

Yujiao Wang, Xiaohong Peng, Jinmin Shi, Xiaoliang Tang, Jie Jiang and Weisheng Liu*

Author Affiliations

Key Laboratory of Nonferrous Metals Chemistry and Resources Utilization of Gansu Province and State Key Laboratory of Applied Organic Chemistry, College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou, 730000, People's Republic of China

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2012, 7:86  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-7-86

Published: 25 January 2012


Magnetic nanoparticles with attractive optical properties have been proposed for applications in such areas as separation and magnetic resonance imaging. In this paper, a simple and novel fluorescent sensor of Zn2+ was designed with 3,5-di-tert-butyl-2-hydroxybenzaldehyde [DTH] covalently grafted onto the surface of magnetic core/shell Fe3O4@SiO2 nanoparticles [NPs] (DTH-Fe3O4@SiO2 NPs) using the silanol hydrolysis approach. The DTH-Fe3O4@SiO2 inorganic-organic hybrid material was characterized by transmission electron microscopy, dynamic light scattering, X-ray power diffraction, diffuse reflectance infrared Fourier transform, UV-visible absorption and emission spectrometry. The compound DTH exhibited fluorescence response towards Zn2+ and Mg2+ ions, but the DTH-Fe3O4@SiO2 NPs only effectively recognized Zn2+ ion by significant fluorescent enhancement in the presence of various ions, which is due to the restriction of the N-C rotation of DTH-Fe3O4@SiO2 NPs and the formation of the rigid plane with conjugation when the DTH-Fe3O4@SiO2 is coordinated with Zn2+. Moreover, this DTH-Fe3O4@SiO2 fluorescent chemosensor also displayed superparamagnetic properties, and thus, it can be recycled by magnetic attraction.