Synthesis and Coordination Chemistry of a Phosphine-Decorated Fluorescein: "Double Turn-On" Sensing of Gold(III) Ions in Water. Academic Article uri icon


  • Although phosphine ligands are ubiquitous in transition metal chemistry, few reports of fluorescent phosphines exist that explore the effect of metal coordination on the photophysical properties of a phosphine-bound fluorescent group. The coordination chemistry of a derivative of fluorescein decorated with an o-phenylene-linked phosphine group has been studied with late transition metals. An Au(I) complex of the phosphine-decorated fluorescein has been structurally characterized, showing that the metal center is held closely over the plane of the fluorophore. Despite the presence of the heavy metal center, however, the phosphine-gold complex displays greatly increased fluorescence compared to the free ligand, in which photoelectron transfer from the lone-pair-bearing phosphine causes low emission. The phosphine-decorated fluorescein ligand was tested in a simple sensing system for metal ions in aqueous solution and shows a "turn-on" response to Au, Ag, and Hg, with an especially dramatic response to Au(III) species. The selectivity for Au(III) was determined to be the result of a "double turn-on" response that is both reaction- and coordination-based.

published proceedings

  • Inorg Chem

altmetric score

  • 3.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Christianson, A. M., & Gabba, F. P.

citation count

  • 20

complete list of authors

  • Christianson, Anna M||Gabbaï, François P

publication date

  • June 2016