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J Am Chem Soc. 2007 Dec 26;129(51):16020-8. Epub 2007 Nov 30.

Anthryl-doped conjugated polyelectrolytes as aggregation-based sensors for nonquenching multicationic analytes.

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Department of Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.


The fluorescence-based detection of nonquenching, multicationic small molecules has been demonstrated using a blue-emitting, polyanionic poly(p-phenylene ethynylene) (PPE) doped with green-emitting exciton traps (anthryl units). Multicationic amines (spermine, spermidine, and neomycin) were found to effectively induce the formation of tightly associated aggregates between the polymer chains in solution. This analyte-induced aggregation, which was accompanied by enhanced exciton migration in the PPE, ultimately led to a visually noticeable blue-to-green fluorescence color change in the solution. The aggregation-based sensor exhibited poor sensitivity toward dicationic and monocationic amines, demonstrating that a conjugated polyelectrolyte sensor relying on nonspecific, electrostatic interactions may still attain a certain level of selectivity.

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