A luminescent Lanthanide-free MOF nanohybrid for highly sensitive ratiometric temperature sensing in physiological range
Luminescent MOF materials with tunable emissions and energy/charge transfer processes have been extensively explored as ratiometric temperature sensors. However, most of the ratiometric MOF thermometers reported thus far are based on the MOFs containing photoactive lanthanides, which are potentially facing cost issue and serious supply shortage. Here, we present a ratiometric luminescent thermometer based on a dual-emitting lanthanide-free MOF hybrid, which is developed by encapsulation of a fluorescent dye into a robust nanocrystalline zirconium-based MOF through a one-pot synthesis approach. The structure and morphology of the hybrid product was characterized by Powder X-ray diffraction (PXRD), N 2 adsorption-desorption measurement and Scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The pore confinement effect well isolates the guest dye molecules and therefore suppresses the nonradiative energy transfer process between dye molecules. The incorporated dye emission is mainly sensitized by the organic linkers within MOF through fluorescence resonance energy transfer. The ratiometric luminescence of the MOF hybrid shows a significant response to temperature due to the thermal-related back energy transfer process from dye molecules and organic linkers, thus can be exploited for self-calibrated temperature sensing. The maximum thermometric sensitivity is 1.19% °C −1 in the physiological temperature range, which is among the highest for the ratiomtric MOF thermometers that operating in 25-45 °C. The temp erature resolution is better than 0.1 °C over the entire operative range (20-60 °C). By integrating the advantages of excellent stability, nanoscale nature, and high sensitivity and precision in the physiological temperature range, this dye@MOF hybrid might have potential application in biomedical diagnosis. What' more, this work has expanded the possibility of non-lanthanide luminescent MOF materials for the development of ratiometric temperature sensors.