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Development of a portable device for Ag+ sensing using CdTe QDs as fluorescence probe via an electron transfer process

Chen, Bin, Liu, Junjie, Yang, Tong, Chen, Lin, Hou, Jia, Feng, Changhao, Huang, Cheng Zhi
Talanta 2019 v.191 pp. 357-363
X-ray diffraction, detection limit, electron transfer, fluorescence, fluorescent dyes, heavy metals, lithium, mercury, metal ions, pollution, portable equipment, quantum dots, silver, toxicity, traps, zeta potential
Ag⁺ as one of the most commonly seen toxic heavy metal ions is involved in numerous vital biological processes, which would cause fatal damages and environmental contamination when Ag⁺ is excessive. In the present work, CdTe quantum dots (QDs) with green, orange, and red emission capped by mercaptoacetic acid (TGA) were synthesized at one time by controlling the synthesis time and utilized for Ag⁺ detection. Both fluorescence spectral red-shift and intensity decrease could be used for Ag⁺ discrimination. Fluorescence lifetime, Zeta potential, and XRD, etc. were carried out to analyze the detection mechanism. Results displayed that surface passivation and electron transfer due to binding effects of Ag⁺ to Te atom on traps of QDs could be relied on to explain the sensing mechanism. Additionally, in accordance with PCA analysis, Ag⁺ could be also be successfully differentiated from Hg²⁺ and the other metal ions. Importantly, a home-made portable device based on a 32 bit embed Micro Control Unit (MCU) system was first proposed for Ag⁺ detection. The power supply system adopt the mini-sized lithium cell instead of the power supply system, which ensure its practical applicability. The relative position of light source and detector is set at 90° to minimize the interference. According to the detection results, the linear detection range using the device was from 5 nM to 200 nM (with a larger coefficient of determination, R²), and the detection limit was calculated to be about 5 nM, which indicated that this proposed method and device could fulfil the practical application requirements.