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PLoS One. 2013;8(3):e60114. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0060114. Epub 2013 Mar 22.

A highly selective and non-reaction based chemosensor for the detection of Hg2+ ions using a luminescent iridium(III) complex.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, Hong Kong Baptist University, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong, China.


We report herein a novel luminescent iridium(III) complex with two hydrophobic carbon chains as a non-reaction based chemosensor for the detection of Hg(2+) ions in aqueous solution (<0.002% of organic solvent attributed to the probe solution). Upon the addition of Hg(2+) ions, the emission intensity of the complex was significantly enhanced and this change could be monitored by the naked eye under UV irradiation. The iridium(III) complex shows high specificity for Hg(2+) ions over eighteen other cations. The system is capable of detecting micromolar levels of Hg(2+) ions, which is within the range of many chemical systems.

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