Chelating anion receptors (MK)

Nitrous oxide detection (MK)

Traffic light detector: CN- (RT)

(Recent work from Mike Kelly and Remi Tirfoin)

Anion recognition is an area of enormous interest, relevant not only to biological systems, but also to applications in catalysis and sensing/detection. From the viewpoint of sensor design, key features are selectivity (i.e. the recognition of the target anion) and signalling (i.e. the triggering of a measurable response on anion binding). A wide variety of chemical strategies have been employed to selectively bind anions; we have been using group 13 Lewis acids, with selectivity based either on the strength of the donor/acceptor bond formed (chiefly for fluoride) or on the complementary geometry of the binding site and target anion. A key molecular design strategy is the incorporation of ferrocenyl units for electrochemical or colorimetric reporting.

Ongoing work is centred on the design of multifunctional Lewis acids and mixed Lewis acid/base systems for the selective detection of fluoride (and its conjugate acid HF), together with the exploitation of such receptors in the sensing of chemical warfare agents. A further target is the selective sensing of cyanide (or HCN) in the presence of competitive anions (e.g. halides). More recently, we have been using Lewis acid/base pairs for the activation and detection of difficult analytes (such as N2O) which have low affinities for more conventional receptor systems.

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Copyright S Aldridge


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