Here, we designed novel optical sensor based on the wormhole hexagonal mesoporous core/multi-shell silica nanoparticles that enabled the selective recognition and removal of these extremely toxic metals from drinking water. The surface-coating process of a mesoporous core/double-shell silica platforms by several consequence decorations using a cationic surfactant with double alkyl tails (CS-DAT) and then a synthesized dicarboxylate 1,5-diphenyl-3-thiocarbazone (III) signaling probe enabled us to create a unique hierarchical multi-shell sensor. In this design, the high loading capacity and wrapping of the CS-DAT and III organic moieties could be achieved, leading to the formation of silica core with multi-shells that formed from double-silica, CS-DAT, and III dressing layers. In this sensing system, notable changes in color and reflectance intensity of the multi-shelled sensor for Cu2+, Co2+, Cd2+, and Hg2+ ions, were observed at pH 2, 8, 9.5 and 11.5, respectively. The multi-shelled sensor is added to enable accessibility for continuous monitoring of several different toxic metal ions and efficient multi-ion sensing and removal capabilities with respect to reversibility, selectivity, and signal stability.
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