Colourimetric carboxylate anion sensors derived from viologen-based receptors

Adam N. Swinburne, Martin J. Paterson, Kathrin H. Fischer, Sara Jane Dickson, E. V B Wallace, Warwick J. Belcher, Andrew Beeby, Jonathan W. Steed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


A series of tri- and tetrapodal viologen-based anion receptors showing a colourimetric response to carboxylates, such as acetate, have been synthesised. Alteration of the anion binding sites allows for binding site competition within a receptor. This results in a delayed colourimetric response for urea derivatives compared with pyridinium systems because the anions are initially bound to the periphery of the receptor, away from the viologen unit. DFT calculations and experimental measurements allow the colour change to be assigned to an anion-receptor charge-transfer process, facilitated by the exceptionally low reduction potential of the cationic host compounds. Evidence for electron transfer to give the viologen radical cation is also seen in some cases. © 2010 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1480-1492
Number of pages13
JournalChemistry - A European Journal
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2010


  • Anions
  • Charge transfer
  • Cyclic voltammetry
  • Density functional calculations
  • Sensors


Dive into the research topics of 'Colourimetric carboxylate anion sensors derived from viologen-based receptors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this