The widespread roles of metal ions in health and disease range from the requirement for intake of essential trace elements, to toxicity associated with metal overload. Because of their large presence in the environment, the development of selective and tunable practical sensors for the detection and quantification of metal ions in aqueous and non-aqueous media, such as in food, beverages, biomedical and environmental samples, are subjects of considerable research.

The R&D project intends to focus on the design of selective fluorescent sensing materials. With respect to the typical “fluorophore-spacer-receptor” sensor format, the approach is to assembling of a new family of sensing materials using as a fluorophoric signalling unit highly ethynylated platforms, namely polyaryleneethynylenes (PAE), bearing oligopeptides and macrocycles as recognition site directly connected to the conjugated PAEs backbones. Taking advantage of an innovative Extended One Pot (EOP) synthetic protocol, highly ethynylated small molecules, oligomers and polymers of PAEs type are easily formed, thus providing a convenient access to an extremely important class of conjugated materials, of unique optoelectronic properties, that are otherwise difficult to prepare.

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