3.1. UV-Vis studies of 8-HQC-NH
The UV-Vis absorption spectrum is measured for the as-prepared probe with various metal ions and the observed data are shown in Fig. 1a. The probe (50 µM) exhibits an absorption band at 292 nm in aqueous solution owing to the π-π* transition.The addition of Fe3+ ion to the solution decreases the intensity of a predominant UV-Vis band of the probe (292 nm) and produce new absorption band at 340 nm, detailing the occurrence of the strong coordination between the probe and Fe3+ ion. The negligible change in the UV-Vis spectrum is observed for the probe after the addition of other metal ions even in the presence of Fe3+ion. Furthermore, the intensity of a band in the UV-Vis spectra are gradually increased upon increasing the concentration of Fe3+ ions in the range between 0–90 µM (Fig. 1b), specifying the formation of the stable coordination complex.
3.2.Fluorescence spectral studies of 8-HQC-NH
The selectivity of the 8-HQC-NH probe has been investigated through the fluorescence studies with the interfering species including Al3+,Cu2+,Cr3+, Zn2+, Hg2+, Mg2+, Ni2+, Cd2+, Mn2+, Co2+, and Fe3+ at a concentration of 25 µM. The acquired fluorescence spectra reveal that the extensive fluorescence quenching at 430 nm and a negligible effect is observed with Fe3+ ions and the other metal ions, respectively [Figure 2a]. This result shows that the 8-HQC-NH has respectable selectivity towards Fe3+ ion over the other competing cations, elucidating strong interaction between the functional groups of 8-HQC-NH and Fe3+ ions. The fluorescence spectra of 8-HQC-NH were recorded at an excitation wavelength of 340 nm with a diverse concentration of Fe3+(Fig. 2b), which exhibits a gradual decrement with the increased concentration of Fe3+ ions (0–70 µM). Furthermore, the quenching efficiency is analyzed by following Stern-Volmer Eq. 2
Eq.: F0/F = Ksv [Q] + 1………(Eq. 2)
Where F0 and F are the intensities of 8-HQC-NH before and after addition of Fe3+, [Q] is the molar concentration of the Fe3+ and Ksv is the quenching constant. The working curve is mapped by (F0 − F)/F0 of 8-HQC-NH with the concentration of Fe3+ and exhibits a good linear correlation (R2 = 0.9876) in a concentration ranging from 0–70 µM were show in (Fig. 3a). From the concentration analysis, the detection limits of the probe toward the sensing of Fe3+ ions was estimated to be 7.0 x 10− 8 M, which is inferior and comparable to those of reported sensors[38–42]. The binding constant of 8-HQC-NH with Fe3+was found to be 3.6x10− 3 M− 1 using the fluorescence titration data (Fig. 3b). The competitive experiments of 8-HQC-NH toward Fe3+ ion were evaluated with an ample range of co-existing metal ions including Al3+, Cu2+, Cr2+, Zn2+, Hg2+, Mg2+, Ni2+, Cd2+, Mn2+ and Co2+ at a concentration of 25 µM and the resulting fluorescence spectra are illustrated in (Fig. 4). The competitive metal ions fluorescence spectra do not influence any significant quenching in the Fe3+ ion spectra and observed identical fluorescence responses with the co-existing metal ions, which reveals the high selectivity of the probe towards the sensing of Fe3+ ions.Further, the job’s plot analysis also confirmed the interaction between8-HQC-NH is ratio1:1 (Fig. 5). This binding stoichiometric was further confirmed by ESI-MS data as shown in Figure S2. When Fe3+ion is added to the probe, a complex is formed with the assistance of anchoring sites including hydroxyl of quinoline ring, nitrogen of hydrazide moiety. Due to this complexation, the chelation-enhanced fluorescence quenching (CHEQ) is suppressed. The proposed sensing of 8-HQC-NH under the present experimental conditions in the present system is based on CHEQ mechanism. This mechanism takes place from the electron-rich quinoline to hydrazide and the whole process is shown in Scheme 2. This indicates that only with 8-HQC-NH, strongly binds with Fe3+ ion through the formation of coordination complex has occurred. Similarly, the intensity of the band was decreased and that of the band at 433 nm is quenched, due to the formation complex between 8-HQC-NH and Fe3+ ions. This result indicates a more efficient coordination of Fe3+ ion occurs with the hydroxyl of quinoline ring, the nitrogen of quinoline moiety, imine nitrogen (C = N) and the nitrogen of hydrazide moiety. Upon addition of Fe3+ ion, the charge transfer was arrested due to the strong complexation of Fe3+ with 8- HQC-NH. In addition, it is well known that Fe3+ion (a soft acid), especially interacts with the nitrogen, and hydroxyl group according to Pearson's HSAB theory, thus supporting the observed data with this probe for the selective detection of Fe3+ ion.