The detection of spectroscopically silent analytes in water is often accomplished by utilization of reactive probes that form chromophoric analyte-dye conjugates. Unfortunately, similar but distinctly different analytes usually do not provide unique spectroscopic features, such that chromatographic separation steps have to be employed, causing significant additional costs and hinder applications. Supramolecular indicator-dye displacement assays can overcome certain limitations of reactive-probes, e.g.
, they allow for an in situ
detection of even non-functionalizable analytes and are of great utility for reaction monitoring. However, their analyte differentiation capabilities are again restricted. Here, we present new strategies involving supramolecular sensing ensembles that allow for improved analyte differentiation through spectroscopic fingerprints. We show that this strategy is applicable to both non-covalent analyte-receptor binding schemes and to reactive-probe assays. As opposed to contemporary sensing strategies, our approach capitalizes on induced spectroscopic changes that are resulting from, (A) the direct “communication” of the analyte with a suitable reporter dye in a confined receptor cavity, or (B) from the analyte-induced structural changes of supramolecular dye-aggregates, leading to an altered dye-dye “communication”.