A fluorescent dye or fluorophore capable of forming complexes with mercury comprises 6,8-difluoro-7-hydroxy-2-oxo-2H-chromene-3-carboxylate amide, wherein the amide is formed by reacting the succinimidyl ester (Pacific Blue.TM.) with an amino acid containing a thiol group, such as cysteine or glutathione. Mercury complexes of the fluorophore fluoresce when excited by a UV or violet laser diode, and the detected intensity can be calibrated to quantify the concentration of mercury in a sample reacted with the fluorophore.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY-SPONSORED RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
This invention was made with government support under contract number DE-SC0004430 awarded by the Department of Energy. The government has certain rights in the invention.