NanoPOP: Solution-Processable Fluorescent Porous Organic Polymer for Highly Sensitive, Selective, and Fast Naked Eye Detection of Mercury

Yankai Li, Yulong He, Fangyuan Guo, Shenping Zhang, Yanyao Liu, William P. Lustig, Shiming Bi, Lawrence J. Williams, Jun Hu, Jing Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)


Fluorescence-based detection is one of the most efficient and cost-effective methods for detecting hazardous, aqueous Hg2+. We designed a fluorescent porous organic polymer (TPA-POP-TSC), with a "fluorophore" backbone and a thiosemicarbazide "receptor" for Hg2+-targeted sensing. Nanometer-sized TPA-POP-TSC spheres (nanoPOP) were synthesized under mini-emulsion conditions and showed excellent solution processability and dispersity in aqueous solution. The nanoPOP sensor exhibits exceptional sensitivity (Ksv = 1.01 × 106 M-1) and outstanding selectivity for Hg2+ over other ions with rapid response and full recyclability. Furthermore, the nanoPOP material can be easily coated onto a paper substrate to afford naked eye-based Hg2+-detecting test strips that are convenient, inexpensive, fast, highly sensitive, and reusable. Our design takes advantage of the efficient and selective capture of Hg2+ by thiosemicarbazides (binding energy = -29.84 kJ mol-1), which facilitates electron transfer from fluorophore to bound receptor, quenching the sensor's fluorescence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27394-27401
Number of pages8
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number30
Publication statusPublished - Jul 31 2019



  • binding energy
  • nanoPOP
  • porous organic polymers
  • self-consistent framework

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)

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