Application of the new platform of structurally integrated luminescent chemical and biological sensors, in which the photoluminescence (PL) excitation source is an organic light-emitting device (OLED), is demonstrated for the detection of oxygen, glucose, hydrazine, and anthrax lethal factor (LF). The oxygen sensors are based on the collisional quenching of the PL of tris(4,7-diphenyl-1,10-phenanthroline) Ru (II) (Ru(dpp)) and Pt octaethyl porphyrin (PtOEP) by O2. The glucose sensors are based on the O2 sensors, to which glucose oxidase, which catalyzes the reaction between glucose and O2, is added. The oxygen and glucose sensors are operable in either the PL intensity I mode or the PL lifetime t mode, where the value of I or t yields the oxygen level. In the t mode, the need for sensor calibration, which remains a challenge in real-world sensing applications, is eliminated. The performance of sensors based on [blue 4,4'-bis(2,2'-diphenylvinyl)-1,1'-biphenyl (DPVBi) OLEDs]/[Ru(dpp)] are compared to those of [green tris(8-hydroxy quinoline) Al (Alq3)]/[PtOEP]. The latter are strongly preferred over the former, due to the relatively long t of PtOEP (~130 ms in the absence of O2), and the higher efficiency and brightness of the green Alq3 OLEDs.
Demonstration of the hydrazine sensor is based on the reaction between nonluminescent anthracene-2,3-dicarboxaldehyde and hydrazine or hydrazine sulfate, which generates a luminescent product. The anthrax LF sensor is based on the cleavage of certain peptides by the anthrax-secreted LF enzyme. As the LF cleaves a fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) donor-acceptor pair-labeled peptide, and the two cleaved segments are separated, the PL of the donor, previously absorbed by the acceptor, becomes detectable by the photodetector.