A simple and selective luminescence sensing method for the cysteine detection was developed based on gold nanoparticles modified by the new ruthenium(II) complexes. The intense emission of the modified ruthenium(II) complexes was quenched efficiently by gold nanoparticles due to the energy and charge transfer between the ruthenium(II) fluorophores and gold nanoparticles. Upon addition of cysteine, the emission of the ruthenium(II) complexes was enhanced significantly by the release of the ruthenium(II) complexes from the surface of the gold nanoparticles. Therefore, cysteine could be detected by this gold nanoparticles-ruthenium(II) complexes based probes. The synthesis of gold nanoparticles and the modification based fluorophores probed could be accomplished successfully within one step, which simplified the preparation of luminescence sensors. Moreover, since metal-to-ligand charge transfer transition (3MLCT) emission band of the ruthenium(II) complexes was in the visible region, this approach was available for biomolecular sensing applications, and its relatively long life time made it suitable for the biological process studies.
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