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Anal Chem. 2014 Jan 7;86(1):419-26. doi: 10.1021/ac402158j. Epub 2013 Nov 25.

Sensitive and selective detection of copper ions with highly stable polyethyleneimine-protected silver nanoclusters.

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College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, College of Biology, State Key Laboratory of Chemo/Biosensing and Chemometrics, Hunan University , Changsha, Hunan, People's Republic of China .


Copper is a highly toxic environmental pollutant with bioaccumulative properties. Therefore, sensitive Cu(2+) detection is very important to prevent over-ingestion, and visual detection using unaugmented vision is preferred for practical applications. In this study, hyperbranched polyethyleneimine-protected silver nanoclusters (hPEI-AgNCs) were successfully synthesized using a facile, one-pot reaction under mild conditions. The hPEI-AgNCs were very stable against extreme pH, ionic strength, temperature, and photoillumination and could act as sensitive and selective Cu(2+) sensing nanoprobes in aqueous solutions with a 10 nM limit of detection. In addition, hPEI-AgNCs-doped agarose hydrogels were developed as an instrument-free and regenerable platform for visual Cu(2+) and water quality monitoring.

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