The recently reported acenaphthopyrrolone (ACNP) class of fluorophores have remarkably bright emission in the red end of the visible spectrum. We demonstrated that straightforward derivatization with 2-aminoethyl-dipicolylamine yields a selective and sensitive chemosensor for Zn(II). Cd(II) and Hg(II) ions. Further modifications could result in water-soluble derivatives, with practical applications in intracellular imaging of Zn(II) concentrations. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.