Progress Towards Colorimetric and Fluorescent Detection of Carbonyl Sulfide

We report here that a fluorescent benzobisimidazolium salt (TBBI) can be used for the fluorescent and colorimetric detection of carbonyl sulfide (COS) over related heterocumulenes including CO2 and CS2 in wet MeCN. The reaction between TBBI and COS in the presence of fluoride yields a highly fluorescent (lem = 354 nm) and colored product (lex = 321 nm), that is readily observed by the naked eye. We view these results as a first step toward developing activity-based probes for COS detection.