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Title: Electrochemically assisted flexible lanthanide upconversion luminescence sensing of heavy metal contamination with high sensitivity and selectivity
Authors: Wong, YT 
Pang, SY 
Tsang, MK 
Liu, Y 
Huang, HT 
Yu, SF 
Hao, JH 
Issue Date: 2019
Source: Nanoscale advances, 1 Jan. 2019, v. 1, no. 1, p. 265-272
Abstract: Heavy metal contamination in water can pose lethal threats to public health; therefore it is highly desired to develop a rapid and sensitive sensor for monitoring water quality. Owing to their superior optical features, upconversion nanoparticles (UCNPs) are widely explored to detect metal ions based on resonance energy transfer to dye quenchers. However, these schemes heavily rely on the optical properties of the molecules, which limits the flexibility of the probe design. Herein, a flexible carbon fiber cloth/UCNP composite probe was fabricated for sensing copper(II) (Cu2+) ions and an electrochemical (E-chem) technique was implemented for the first time to enhance its sensing performance. By applying 0.3 V on the composite probe, Cu2+ ions can be effectively accumulated through oxidation, yielding a remarkable improvement in the selectivity and sensitivity. A more outstanding detection limit of the sensor was achieved at 82 ppb under the E-chem assistance, with 300-fold enhancement compared to the detection without the E-chem effect. This sensing approach can be an alternative to molecular quenchers and open up new possibilities for simple, rapid and portable sensing of metal ions.
Publisher: Royal Society of Chemistry
Journal: Nanoscale advances 
EISSN: 2516-0230
DOI: 10.1039/c8na00012c
Rights: This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry 2019
This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attibution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported Licence (
The following publication Wong, Y. T., Pang, S. Y., Tsang, M. K., Liu, Y., Huang, H. T., Yu, S. F., & Hao, J. H. (2019). Electrochemically assisted flexible lanthanide upconversion luminescence sensing of heavy metal contamination with high sensitivity and selectivity. Nanoscale Advances, 1(1), 265-272 is available at
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