A practical graphitic carbon nitride (g-C3N4)based fluorescence sensor for the competitive detection of trithiocyanuric acid and mercury ions

Meng Li, Bo Wang, Xufei An, Zhiyong Li, Hongtao Zhu, Boyang Mao, David G. Calatayud, Tony D. James

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


A fluorescent sensor for the detection of trithiocyanuric acid (TCA)and Hg2+ was developed based on competitive interactions: non-covalent stacking between g-C3N4 and TCA vs coordinative interaction between TCA and Hg2+. Electrostatic simulations were used to evaluate the interactions and help describe the detection mechanism. Moreover, normalized 2D fluorescence contour plots have been used to understand the fluorescence phenomenon. When TCA was added into a g-C3N4 nanosheet solution free of Hg2+, TCA interacted with g-C3N4 nanosheets via hydrogen bonding and π-π interactions, resulting in fluorescence quenching of the g-C3N4 nanosheets. However, upon the addition of Hg2+, the fluorescence of the TCA-g-C3N4 nanosheet hybrid system was restored, due to coordination of Hg2+ with TCA through the S atoms, breaking the TCA-g-C3N4 stacking interaction. Our results provide a new approach for the design of multifunctional nanosensors suitable for the detection of environmental pollutants.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107476
JournalDyes and Pigments
Early online date12 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019


  • Dye sensor
  • Fluorescent sensor
  • Functional materials
  • Graphitic carbon nitride
  • Mercury sensing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Process Chemistry and Technology

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