Authors: Isabel Costas Mora, Vanesa Romero, Francisco Pena-Pereira, Isela Lavilla, Carlos Bendicho
Journal: Analytical Chemistry, 84: 4452-4459, 05/2012
Following a preliminary work (Costas-Mora, I.; Romero, V.; Pena-Pereira, F.; Lavilla, I.; Bendicho, C. Anal. Chem.2011, 83, 2388–2393), a quenching mechanism has been established for the selective detection of Se (as selenium hydride) by microfluorospectrometry using CdSe quantum dots (QDs) as luminescent probes stabilized with hexadecylamine and confined in an organic droplet. For this purpose, luminescence, luminescence lifetime, UV–vis absorption, total reflection X-ray fluorescence, transmission electron microscopy, and atomic force microscopy measurements were performed. The presence of stabilizing agents of QDs in the droplet was found to cause a critical effect on both extraction efficiency of selenium hydride in the drop and luminescence quenching. A self-quenching mechanism due to the aggregation of QDs is suggested. Aggregation is thought to occur as a result of the binding between selenide trapped into the organic drop as selenium hydride and Cd2+ present in the surface of QDs, which in turn, may cause the loss of stabilizing hexadecylamine groups. After full optimization of main variables influencing the luminescent response, the analytical performance was established. A detection limit as low as 0.08 μg L–1 Se(IV) and a repeatability expressed as relative standard deviation of 4.6% were obtained. The method was validated against CRM NWTM-27.2 lake water, and a recovery study was performed with synthetic seawater. The use of CdSe as luminescent probes in an organic drop may constitute an extremely selective, sensitive, and miniaturized assay for in situ detection of Se(IV) in water.