A pyrazolopyrimidine based fluorescent probe for the detection of Cu2+ and Ni2+ and its application in living cells

Yun Qiong Gu, Wen Ying Shen, Yan Zhou, Shan Feng Chen, Yan Mi, Bing Fan Long, David J. Young, Fei Long Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A fluorescent sensor L based on a pyrazolopyrimidine core simultaneously detects Cu2+ and Ni2+ ions by photoluminescence quenching, even in the presence of other metal cations. Sensor L possesses high association constants of 5.24 × 103 M−1 and 2.85 × 104 M−1 and low detection limits of 0.043 μM and 0.038 μM for Cu2+ and Ni2+, respectively. The binding stoichiometry ratios of L to Cu2+ or Ni2+ is 1:1 as determined by Benesi-Hildebrand and Job's plots, and by crystal structures. DFT calculations on L-Cu2+ indicated reduced electron donation from the coordinated pyrazolopyridine to the fused pyrimidine and pendant phenyl group which, together with a smaller HOMO-LUMO orbital gap could favour non-radiative decay and explain the observed fluorescence quenching. Sensor L possessed low cytotoxicity and good imaging characteristics for Cu2+ and Ni2+ in living cells, suggesting potential applications for detecting Cu2+ and Ni2+ in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-149
Number of pages9
JournalSpectrochimica Acta - Part A: Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2019
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'A pyrazolopyrimidine based fluorescent probe for the detection of Cu<sup>2+</sup> and Ni<sup>2+</sup> and its application in living cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this