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Label-free colorimetric detection of mercury via Hg(2+) ions-accelerated structural transformation of nanoscale metal-oxo clusters.


PMID 26559602

Abstract

Mercury and its compounds are known to be extremely toxic but widely distributed in environment. Although many works have been reported to efficiently detect mercury, development of simple and convenient sensors is still longed for quick analyzing mercury in water. In this work, a nanoscale metal-oxo cluster, (n-Bu4N)2[Mo5NaO13(OCH3)4(NO)], (MLPOM), organically-derivatized from monolacunary Lindqvist-type polyoxomolybdate, is found to specifically react with Hg(2+) in methanol/water via structural transformation. The MLPOM methanol solution displays a color change from purple to brown within seconds after being mixed with an aqueous solution containing Hg(2+). By comparing the structure of polyoxomolybdate before and after reaction, the color change is revealed to be the essentially structural transformation of MLPOM accelerated by Hg(2+). Based on this discovery, MLPOM could be utilized as a colorimetric sensor to sense the existence of Hg(2+), and a simple and label-free method is developed to selectively detect aqueous Hg(2+). Furthermore, the colorimetric sensor has been applied to indicating mercury contamination in industrial sewage.

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