A selective triarylmethine-based spectroscopic probe for Zn2+ ion monitoring

Naru Lee, Nguyen Hoang Ly, Jong Seung Kim, Hyo Sung Jung, Sang Woo Joo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


We report the synthesis and application of a novel probe of the di-2-picolylamine (DPA)-conjugated triarylmethine (TAM) dye which has aimed at detecting Zn2+ ions. The 1:2 binding stoichiometry is estimated between Zn2+ and DPA-TAM according to Job's plot diagram and density functional theory (DFT) calculations. The increment of Zn2+ ion concentrations leads to the elevated SERS intensity of DPA-TAM on gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) due to the intermolecular chelation between the Zn2+ ion and DPA-TAM. Our synthetic spectroscopic probe shows [Zn2+]-correlated SERS intensities with an estimated detection limit of 50 μM. This is due to a plasmonic enhancement effect from the well-dispersed metal nanoparticles to DPA-TAM-AuNP aggregates, which is activated by Zn2+ ion. The prepared DPA-TAM-AuNP system can also be successfully applied to monitoring of intracellular Zn2+ ions both in human cervical carcinoma HeLa cells in vitro and daphnia in vivo through dark-field microscopy (DFM)-equipped Raman cellular imaging. Our DPA-TAM-AuNP system provides a new insight in potential applications of bioanalytical Zn2+ ion detection methodology.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107721
JournalDyes and Pigments
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Dec


  • Dark-field microscopy
  • In vitro
  • In vivo
  • Intracellular Zn ion detection
  • Surface enhanced Raman scattering
  • Synthetic probe

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Process Chemistry and Technology


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