Rationally designed fluorescence turn-on sensors: A new design strategy based on orbital control

Hyo Sung Jung, Kyoung Chul Ko, Jae Hong Lee, Sang Hoon Kim, Sankarprasad Bhuniya, Jin Yong Lee, Youngmee Kim, Sung Jin Kim, Jong Seung Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

107 Citations (Scopus)


Herein, we explore a new strategy in the chemo-sensor field for fluorescence amplification upon binding with metal ions based on controlled participation of the nitrogen lone pair orbital. The basic architecture of the sensor entails a fluorophore, the sp2 hybridized nitrogen lone pair (-C=N-), and a chelator site referred to as the control part. Though nonplanar and nonfluorescent, compound IC1 achieved pseudo planarity from binding with Zn2+ as indicated by the increased fluorescence signal. Its other analogue (IC2) is also planar, and unlike IC1-Zn2+ was fluorescent with a lack of binding affinity to metal ions. The time-dependent density functional theory (TDDFT) calculations revealed that the fluorescence amplification was due to the blocking of the nitrogen lone pair orbital; unlikely geometrical rearrangements were insignificant. This could indicate a breakthrough concept in the future design of fluorescent turn-on sensors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8552-8557
Number of pages6
JournalInorganic Chemistry
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Sep 20

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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