The fluorescent emission of the N,N-dimethylaniline fragment of the tetramine system 3 varies with pH, displaying a maximum of the fluorescent intensity, I(F) at pH = 5. Binding of transition metals (Cu(II), Ni(II)) induces fluorescence quenching and modifies the I(F) vs. pH profile, giving rise to an OFF-ON-OFF type of sensor. The [Zn(II)(3)](2+) complex recognises carboxylate anions, both aliphatic and aromatic. Recognition is signalled via fluorescence quenching only for aromatic carboxylates.
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