Enantioselective Recognition of Mandelic Acid by a 3,6-Dithiophen-2-yl-9H-carbazole-Based Chiral Fluorescent Bisboronic Acid Sensor

Y B Wu, H M Guo, Tony D James, J Z Zhao

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84 Citations (SciVal)


We have prepared chiral fluorescent bisboronic acid sensors with 3,6-dithiophen-2-yl-9H-carbazole as the fluorophore. The thiophene moiety was used to extend the pi-conjugation framework of the fluorophore in order to red-shift the fluorescence emission and, at the same time, to enhance the novel process where the fluorophore serves as the electron donor of the photoinduced electron transfer process (d-PET) of the boronic acid sensors; i.e., the background fluorescence of the sensor 1 at acidic pH is weaker compared to that at neutral or basic pH, in stark contrast to the typical a-PET boronic acid sensors (where the fluorophore serves as the electron acceptor of the photoinduced electron transfer process). The benefit of the d-PET boronic acid sensors is that the recognition of the hydroxylic acids can be achieved at acidic pH. We found that the thiophene moiety is an efficient pi-conjugation linker and electron donor; as a result, the d-PET contrast ratio of the sensors upon variation of the pH is improved 10-fold when compared to the previously reported d-PET sensors without the thiophene moiety. Enantioselective recognition of tartaric acid was achieved at acid pH, and the enantioselectivity (total response K(D)I(F)(D)/K(L)I(F)(L)) is 3.3. The fluorescence enhancement (I(F)(Sample)/I(F)(Blank)) of sensor 1 upon binding with tartaric acid is 3.5-fold at pH 3.0. With the fluorescent bisboronic acid sensor 1, enantioselective recognition of mandelic acid was achieved for the first time. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time that the mandelic acid has been enantioselectively recognized using a chiral fluorescent boronic acid sensor. Chiral monoboronic acid sensor 2 and bisboronic acid sensor 3 without the thiophene moiety failed to enantioselectively recognize mandelic acid. Our findings with the thiophene-incorporated boronic acid sensors will be important for the design of d-PET fluorescent sensors for the enantioselective recognition of alpha-hydroxylic acids such as mandelic acid, given that it is currently a challenge to recognize these analytes with boronic acid fluorescent molecular sensors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5685-5695
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Organic Chemistry
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2011


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