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Au–Ag Nanoclusters/3,3′,5,5′ Tetramethylbenzidine Complex as a Sensitive “Turn-On” Fluorescent Nanoplatform for Mercury (II) Ions Sensing

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Fluorescent bimetallic Au–Ag nanoclusters (Au–AgNCs) were found to exhibit oxidase-like activity and could catalyze the oxidation of 3,3′,5,5′ tetramethylbenzidine (TMB) to oxTMB. On the basis of this property, we assembled a fluorescent nanoplatform as a turn-on probe for sensing mercury (II) ions (Hg2+) through the inner-filter effect (IFE). Au–AgNCs and oxTMB were chosen as IFE absorber and fluorophore pair for the first time. In the absence of Hg2+, the Au–AgNCs absorption band well. Covered the fluorescence emission band of oxTMB, and as a result, the fluorescence of oxTMB was reduced. In the presence of Hg2+, Hg2+ was reduced to Hg0 by extra BSA in Au–AgNCs probe system and anchored on the surface of Au–AgNCs. The absorption intensity for Au–AgNCs then decreased at 418 nm, resulting in the recovery of fluorescence from oxTMB. The formed Au–Hg thin amalgam layer obviously enhanced the oxidase-like activity of Au–AgNCs as well as hindered the IFE activity between Au–AgNCs and oxTMB. Therefore, based on the Hg2+ stimulating oxidaselike properties of Au–AgNCs, a fluorometric assay for determination of Hg2+ was developed in this study. The proposed sensing strategy showed a linear range from 10 nM to 500 nM, with ultralow LOD of ~0.7 nM for Hg2+. Moreover, the detection probe system was stable over a wide pH range, making it able to be applied in complex sample systems. We have successfully demonstrated the detection of Hg2+ in tap water samples. The fluorescent assay reported here, for sensitive and selective determination of Hg2+, may find great application in multiple areas, such as environmental and pharmaceutical analysis.
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Keywords: Au–Ag Nanoclusters; Au–Hg Thin Amalgam Layer; Fluorescent Detection; Mercury (II) Ions; Oxidase–Like Activity

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Chemistry, Capital Normal University, Beijing 100048, China 2: National Institutes of Food and Drug Control, Beijing 100050, China 3: Henan University of Animal Husbandry and Economics, Zhengzhou 450046, China

Publication date: February 1, 2020

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  • Journal for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (JNN) is an international and multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal with a wide-ranging coverage, consolidating research activities in all areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology into a single and unique reference source. JNN is the first cross-disciplinary journal to publish original full research articles, rapid communications of important new scientific and technological findings, timely state-of-the-art reviews with author's photo and short biography, and current research news encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all disciplines of science, engineering and medicine.
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