We introduce "sense, track and separate" approach for the removal of Hg2+ ion from aqueous media using highly ordered and magnetic mesoporous ferrosilicate nanocages functionalised with rhodamine fluorophore derivative. These functionalised materials offer both fluorescent and magnetic properties in a single system which help not only to selectively sense the Hg2+ ions with a high precision but also adsorb and separate a significant amount of Hg2+ ion in aqueous media. We demonstrate that the magnetic affinity of these materials, generated from the ultrafine γ-Fe2O3 nanoparticles present inside the nanochannels of the support, can efficiently be used as a fluorescent tag to sense the Hg2+ ions present in NIH3T3 fibroblasts live cells and to track the movement of the cells by external magnetic field monitored using confocal fluorescence microscopy. This simple approach of introducing multiple functions in the magnetic mesoporous materials raise the prospect of creating new advanced functional materials by fusing organic, inorganic and biomolecules to create advanced hybrid nanoporous materials which have a potential use not only for sensing and the separation of toxic metal ions but also for cell tracking in bio-separation and the drug delivery.
ASJC Scopus subject areas