Fluorescent sensor for Cu2+ with a tunable emission wavelength

Andriy Mokhir, Alexander Kiel, Dirk-Peter Herten, Roland Kraemer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Citations (Scopus)


A concept of fluorescent metal ion sensing with an easily tunable emission wavelength is presented and its principle demonstrated by detection of Cu(2+). A fluorescein dye was chemically modified with a metal chelating group and then attached to the terminus of ss-DNA. This was combined with a complementary ss-DNA modified with another fluorescent dye (ATTO 590), emitting at a longer wavelength. In the assembled duplex, fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) between the fluorescein donor (excited at 470 nm) and the ATTO 590 acceptor (emitting at 624 nm) is observed. Proper positioning within the rigid DNA double helix prevents intramolecular contact quenching of the two dyes. Coordination of paramagnetic Cu(2+) ions by the chelating unit of the sensor results in direct fluorescence quenching of the fluorescein dye and indirect (by loss of FRET) quenching of the ATTO 590 emission at 624 nm. As a result, emission of the acceptor dye can be used for monitoring of the concentration of Cu(2+), with a 20 nM detection limit. The emission wavelength is readily tuned by replacement of ATTO-DNA by other commercially available DNA-acceptor dye conjugates. Fluorescent metal ion sensors emitting at >600 nm are very rare. The possibility of tuning the emission wavelength is important with respect to the optimization of this sensor type for application to biological samples, which usually show broad autofluorescence at <550 nm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5661-6
Number of pages6
JournalInorganic Chemistry
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 8 Aug 2005


  • Binding Sites
  • Copper/chemistry
  • DNA/chemistry
  • Fluorescent Dyes/chemistry
  • Spectrometry, Fluorescence
  • Thermodynamics


Dive into the research topics of 'Fluorescent sensor for Cu2+ with a tunable emission wavelength'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this