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A simple pyridine-based colorimetric chemosensor for highly sensitive and selective mercury(II) detection with the naked eye

Jian-Ting Pan, Fei Zhu, Lin Kong, Long-Mei Yang, Xu-Tang Tao, Yu-Peng Tian, Hong-Bo Lu, and Jia-Xiang Yang

Department of Chemistry, Key Laboratory of Functional Inorganic Materials of Anhui Province, Anhui University, Hefei 230039, China



Abstract: Two easily-prepared pyridine-based derivatives of (Z)-2-(4-amino-phenyl)-3-(pyridine-4-yl)acrylonitrile (I) and (Z)-2-phenyl-3-(pyridin-4-yl)acrylonitrile (II ) were designed, synthesised and characterised. Due to the formation of a complex with Hg2+, hence leading to an enhanced ICT effect, I exhibits a visible colour change from light yellow to orange, rendering it suitable for use as a naked-eye sensor for rapid detection of Hg2+ in an aqueous ethanol solution. When mixed with Hg2+, I interacts with Hg2+ in a 2 : 1 (Y1-Hg2+) stoichiometry via a coordination bond with an association constant of 7.7 × 108 M-2 (R2 = 0.96). The present probe I exhibits excellent reproducibility, reversibility, sensitivity and selectivity with the presence of low concentration of Hg2+ (1.74 × 10-10 M).

Keywords: mercury ion sensor – pyridine – colorimetric – specific selectivity – easy-to-prepare – charge transfer

Full paper is available at

DOI: 10.1515/chempap-2015-0061


Chemical Papers 69 (4) 527–535 (2015)

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