Cleaved Ether Shines To ID Trace Palladium | Chemical & Engineering News
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Web Date: September 27, 2007

Cleaved Ether Shines To ID Trace Palladium

Metal gives itself away by snipping a C–O bond in a sensor molecule, causing the sensor to fluoresce
Department: Education
News Channels: Materials SCENE
LIGHTING UP
Palladium cleaves the allylic C–O bond (lower left) of this sensor molecule, which causes the resulting alkoxide fragment to fluoresce.
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LIGHTING UP
Palladium cleaves the allylic C–O bond (lower left) of this sensor molecule, which causes the resulting alkoxide fragment to fluoresce.

Palladium reagents are prized for their powerful ability to catalyze covalent bond formation. But that usefulness has a downside: Residual palladium is notoriously difficult to remove from final products and from chemical reactors. Furthermore, expensive analytical spectrometers are usually needed to detect trace amounts of the metal.

To help work around this problem, University of Pittsburgh chemists have now developed a highly sensitive fluorescent sensor for detecting palladium at levels as low as 1 ppm (J. Am. Chem. Soc., DOI: 10.1021/ja073910q).

The fluorescein-based sensor, developed by Kazunori Koide, Fengling Song, and Amanda L. Garner, capitalizes on palladium's ability to catalytically cleave the C???O bond of allylic ethers. In the presence of Pd(0) or Pd(II) under reducing conditions, the allylic ether in the sensor molecule is cleaved. The resulting alkoxide fragment fluoresces, indicating the presence of palladium.

The researchers think the user-friendly sensor will be helpful for monitoring the presence of palladium in pharmaceuticals and in chemical reactors as well as for detecting palladium in mining operations.

 
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