Institute of Medicine and Materials Applied Technologies, College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Qufu Normal University, Qufu City, Shandong Province, 273165, People's Republic of China. [Email]
A terbium(III)-functionalized zinc(II)-organic framework (Tb-MOF-Zn) is shown to be a viable fluorescent probe for phosphate. The organic ligands 4,4',4″-[((2,4,6-trimethylbenzene-1,3,5-triyl)tris(methylene))tris(oxy)]tribenzoic acid (H3L3) contains multiple carboxyl groups that can react with zinc(II) to yield tubular MOF-Zn. The MOF-Zn was further functionalized with Tb(III) to produce a lanthanide composite of type Tb-MOF-Zn which displays strong fluorescence with excitation/emission maxima at 285/544 nm. Fluorescence is quenched by phosphate because of the specific interaction with Tb(III) in Tb-MOF-Zn. The concentration of Tb-MOF-Zn, reaction time and pH value of the solution were optimized. Fluorescence drops linearly in the 0.01 to 200.0 μM phosphate concentration range, and the detection limit is 4.0 nM. The fluorescent probe was also used to prepare a microdot array on a glass slide for visual detection of phosphate under illumination with UV light. Graphical abstractA terbium(III) functionalized zinc(II)-organic framework was synthesized and used as fluorescent probe for determination of phosphate ions.