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Dynamic Coordination between a Triphenylamine-Functionalized Salicylaldehyde Schiff Base and a Copper(II) Ion

Zhang, Xing; Wu, Shou Ting; Yang, Xian Jiong; Shen, Ling Yi; Huang, Ya Li; Xu, Hong; Zhang, Qi Long; Sun, Tao; Redshaw, Carl; Feng, Xing


Xing Zhang

Shou Ting Wu

Xian Jiong Yang

Ling Yi Shen

Ya Li Huang

Hong Xu

Qi Long Zhang

Tao Sun

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Professor Carl Redshaw
Professor of Inorganic Materials Chemistry and REF Lead for Chemistry

Xing Feng


The coordination between a ligand and a metal is a spontaneous and uncontrollable process. In this Article, we successfully observe the formation of metal coordination in a triphenylamine-functionalized salicylaldehyde Schiff base with a copper(II) ion. The ligand TPA-Py first reacts with Cu2+ in a stepwise process to afford the dynamic complex TPA-Py@Cu2+ ([ligand]:[Cu2+] = 1:1), which further reacts with an extra copper(II) ion to afford 2TPA-Py@4Cu2+ with the following stepwise (or cumulative) stability constants: K1 = 4.0694 × 103 and K2 = 1.0761 × 106, respectively. The entire metal coordination process can be visualized, and the coordination mode of the probe toward copper was further evaluated by ultraviolet-visible/fluorescence spectra, single-crystal X-ray diffraction, density functional theory calculations, high-resolution mass spectra, and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopic titrations. Compound TPA-Py exhibited excellent sensitivity and specificity toward copper(II) ions in THF/water media with a low limit of detection of 2.687 × 10-7 mol L-1. In addition, TPI-An-Py can be applied to the detection of Cu2+ in real samples with satisfactory recoveries in the range of 100-112% in lake water and 98-101% in tap water. This Article not only reports an excellent fluorescence probe for copper(II) ion detection but also presents an instance for more fully understanding the metal coordination process.


Zhang, X., Wu, S. T., Yang, X. J., Shen, L. Y., Huang, Y. L., Xu, H., …Feng, X. (2021). Dynamic Coordination between a Triphenylamine-Functionalized Salicylaldehyde Schiff Base and a Copper(II) Ion. Inorganic chemistry,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 6, 2021
Online Publication Date Jun 7, 2021
Publication Date Jun 7, 2021
Deposit Date Jun 8, 2021
Publicly Available Date Oct 27, 2022
Journal Inorganic Chemistry
Print ISSN 0020-1669
Electronic ISSN 1520-510X
Publisher American Chemical Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords Physical and Theoretical Chemistry; Inorganic Chemistry
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Copyright Statement
This document is the Accepted Manuscript version of a Published Work that appeared in final form in Inorganic Chemistry, copyright © American Chemical Society after peer review and technical editing by the publisher. To access the final edited and published work see

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