Modular Design Of Fluorescent Cation Sensors On A Bile Acid Scaffold
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Bile acid-based cation sensors involving through space photo-induced electron transfer (PET) processes have been synthesized. In this approach, appropriate known fluorophores and aza crown ether receptor units were attached on a suitable bile acid scaffold. A through space photo induced electron transfer from N-atom of the aza 18-crown-6 to the excited pyrene was responsible for quenching of the pyrene fluorescence. A fluorescence enhancement was observed with the addition of K+ due to the inhibition of fluorescence quenching by PET mechanism. In order check the relationship between the sensitivity and the molecular structure of the sensors, four different molecules with different geometries were synthesized. The changes in the fluorescence spectra for different sensors were recorded in MeOH. The binding constants calculated by curve fitting showed that while the binding constants did not significantly vary, the sensitivities were different depending on the structure of the sensors. The modular nature of the sensor design was verified by changing the receptor module from aza-18-crown-6 to aza-15-crown-5, keeping other parts of the sensor same, to prepare a sodium selective sensor using the same principle. Fluorescence titration in MeOH confirmed the Na+ selective sensing in the presence of K+. The modular design concept was further extended by replacing the fluorophore pyrene to a coumarin derivative. Coumarin sensors showed a behavior similar to that of the pyrene sensors. In order to check the possibility of sensing metal ions in water, non ionic surfactant, Triton X-100 was chosen to dissolve the sensor in water. Fluorescence titration of the sensors showed a desired selective fluorescence enhancement with the particular metal ions. Merrifield resin and water swellable Tentagel® was used to immobilize the sensor to fabricate reusable sensor beads for detecting the metal ions in non polar solvent and water respectively. Fluorescence enhancements of the sensor beads with the metal ions confirmed the process in the immobilized solid state. K+ and Na+ selective sensor beads successfully demonstrated the fluorescence enhancement with the respective cations. This general strategy can be extended to fabricate other sensors for practical uses.
- Organic Chemistry (OC) 
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