A novel compound, 1, which is based on a 1,10-phenanthroline scaffold with cofacial BODIPY units, is synthesized via a three-step reaction sequence. It is noteworthy that 1 can be utilized for both visual and turn-off fluorometric detection of Zn2+ ions in aqueous acetonitrile solution. The fluorescence response is based on cation-mediated oxidative photoinduced electron transfer (PET). The digital action of a two-input NOR logic gate is also demonstrated. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.