Mesoporous silica was synthesized and functionalized by sequential modifications. Silica reacted first with 3-aminopropyltriethoxysilane and then with 1-pyrenecarboxaldehye to obtain aminopyrene-functionalized mesoporous silica. Functionalized silica has been used as sensing material for nitrophenols determination based on fluorescence quenching. Response sensitivity of the sensor to nitrophenols is in the sequence 2,4-dinitrophenol ≈ p-nitrophenol > picric acid > o-nitrophenol > m-nitrophenol. The linear range for p-nitrophenol detection lies in 3.60 × 10−6 ∼ 8.99 × 10−5 mol·L−1 with a detection limit of 7.78 × 10−7 mol·L−1 (S/N = 3). For 2,4-dinitrophenol, the linear range is 3.62 × 10−6 ∼ 7.24 × 10−5 mol·L−1, and the detection limit is 3.52 × 10−7 mol·L−1.
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