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A facile and label-free ratiometric optical sensor for selective detection of norepinephrine by combining second-order scattering and fluorescence signals

Zhang, Ying, Ren, Wang, Fan, Yu Zhu, Dong, Jiang Xue, Luo, Hong Qun, Li, Nian Bing
Analytical and bioanalytical chemistry 2019 v.411 no.14 pp. 3081-3089
analytical chemistry, detection limit, fluorescence, monitoring, norepinephrine, polyethyleneimine, wavelengths
In this work, a facile and label-free ratiometric sensor is constructed for selective determination of norepinephrine (NE) by coupling second-order scattering (SOS) and fluorescence, two different and independent optical signals. Herein, polyethyleneimine (PEI) dilute solution medium shows an intensive SOS signal without any fluorescence response. Interestingly, NE can be selectively induced by PEI to emit bright fluorescence, and meanwhile causes an observable decrease in the SOS signal due to the interactions between NE and PEI. The simultaneous variation of the two independent signals can be used for ratiometric sensing of NE. Under the optimal conditions, the resultant ratiometric sensor displays high sensitivity and selectivity toward NE by simultaneously monitoring fluorescence and SOS signals with the same excitation wavelength. The proposed sensor exhibits a good linear relationship versus NE concentration in the range of 10.0 nM–45.0 μM with a detection limit of 2.0 nM (S/N = 3) and has been successfully applied to the determination of NE in real samples without the use of any extra reagent. The combination of fluorescence and SOS signals provides a new scheme for ratiometric sensor design, greatly simplifying experimental procedure and effectively enhancing detection accuracy. Moreover, the proposed analytical strategy further broadens the application of dilute solutions of polymers in research into optical sensor and green analytical chemistry. Graphical abstract