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Ratiometric and Turn-On Luminescence Detection of Water in Organic Solvents Using a Responsive Europium-Organic Framework

Zhou, You, Zhang, Denan, Xing, Wenzhe, Cuan, Jing, Hu, Yuhua, Cao, Yuting, Gan, Ning
Analytical chemistry 2019 v.91 no.7 pp. 4845-4851
chemical industry, color, emissions factor, europium, fluorescence, ligands, solvents, water analysis, water content
The development of simple, rapid-response sensors for water detection in organic solvents is highly desirable in the chemical industry. Here we demonstrate a unique luminescence water sensor based on a dual-emitting europium-organic framework (Eu-MOF), which is assembled from a purposely selected 2-aminoterephthalic acid ligand with responsive fluorescence inherent in its intramolecular charge transfer (ICT) process. This ICT process can be rapidly switched-on in the presence of water owing to its ability to boost and stabilize the ICT state. In contrast, the Eu³⁺ emission within the framework is insensitive to water and can serve as a reference, thus enabling highly sensitive water detection in a turn-on and ratiometric way. In addition, the significant ratiometric luminescence response induced by water makes Eu-MOF undergo a distinct change of emitting color from red to blue, which is favorable for visual analysis with the naked eye. Sensitive determination of water content (0.05–10% v/v) in various organic solvents is achieved in multiple readouts including ratiometric emission intensity, emission color, or the Commission Internationale de l’Eclairage (CIE) chromaticity coordinate. The present Eu-MOF sensor featuring high sensitivity and reusability, self-calibration, simple fabrication and operation, and capability for real-time and in situ detection is expected to have practical applications in water analysis for industrial processes.