Aggregation-Induced Electrochemiluminescence of the Dichlorobis(1,10-phenanthroline)ruthenium(II) (Ru(phen)2Cl2)/Tri-n-propylamine (TPrA) System in H2O–MeCN Mixtures for Identification of Nucleic Acids

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Chemistry and Biochemistry


Mathematics and Natural Sciences


Aggregation-induced electrochemiluminescence (AIECL) of the dichlorobis(1,10-phenanthroline)ruthenium(II) (Ru(phen)2Cl2)/tri-n-propylamine (TPrA) system was systematically investigated in H2O–MeCN media. Up to a 120-fold increase in the ECL intensity was observed when the H2O fraction (v%) was changed from 30% to 70%, whereas only an approximately 5.7-fold increase in the corresponding aggregation-induced fluorescence emission was demonstrated. The gradual formation of clusters of Ru(phen)2Cl2 nanoaggregates along with the increase in the H2O fraction to MeCN, which was verified by dynamic light scattering (DLS), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and transmission electron microscopy (TEM), was believed to be responsible for the remarkable ECL enhancement. Significantly, the above-mentioned AIECL behavior was found to be very sensitive to the types and sequences of nucleic acids present in solution, which provided an effective and novel strategy for distinguishing RNA from DNA and for differentiating different miRNAs. The present study could have a substantial impact in various research areas, such as molecular sensors, bioimaging probes, organelle-specific imaging, and tumor diagnosis.

Publication Title

Analytical Chemistry

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