Cyclam-based "clickates": Homogeneous and heterogeneous fluorescent sensors for Zn(II)

Emiliano Tamanini, Kevin Flavin, Majid Motevalli, Silvia Piperno, Levi A. Gheber, Matthew H. Todd, Michael Watkinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations


In an effort to improve upon the recently reported cyclam based zinc sensor 1, the "click"-generated 1,8-disubstituted analogue 2 has been prepared. The ligand shows a 2-fold increase in its fluorescence emission compared to 1 exclusively in the presence of Zn(II) that is typical of switch-on PET fluorescent sensors. Single crystal X-ray diffraction of complexes of model ligand 10 reveals that the configuration adopted by the macrocyclic framework is extremely sensitive to the metal ion to which it coordinates. For Zn(II), Mg(II), and Li(I) the metal ions adopt an octahedral geometry with a trans III configuration of the cyclam ring. In contrast for Ni(II) the ligand adopts the rare cis V configuration, while for Cu(II) a clear preference for five-coordinate geometry is displayed with a trans I configuration of the macrocyclic ring being observed in two essentially isostructural compounds prepared via different routes. The ligand displays an increased selectivity for Zn(II) compared to 1 in the majority of cases with excellent selectivity upheld over Na(I), Mg(II), Ca(II), Mn(II), Ni(II), Co(II), and Fe(III). In contrast for Cu(II) and Hg(II) little improvement was observed for 2 compared to 1 and for Cd(II) the selectivity of the new ligand was inferior. In the light of these findings and the slower response times for ligand 2, our original "click"-generated cyclam sensor system 1 was employed in a proof of concept study to prepare a heterogeneous sol-gel based material which retains its PET response to Zn(II). The versatile nature of the sol-gel process importantly allows the simple preparation of a variety of nanostructured materials displaying high surface area-volume ratio using fabrication methods such as soft lithography, electrospinning, and nanopipetting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3789-3800
Number of pages12
JournalInorganic Chemistry
Issue number8
StatePublished - 19 Apr 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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