A series of new diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid (DTPA)-bisamide chelators has been prepared and characterized for application as zinc sensors. We have designed and synthesized (GdL(a))(2-), which contains a DTPA-bisamide moiety. The R(1) relaxivity of (GdL(a))(2-) solution decreased monotonically on the addition of Zn(2+). Moreover, (GdL(a))(2-) showed high selectivity for Zn(2+) against Ca(2+) and Mg(2+). We also measured the UV-visible spectra and the coldspray ionization (CSI) MS spectra and concluded that the 1-to-1 Zn(2+) complex of (GdL(a))(2-) is stable at higher concentrations of Zn(2+). These complexes should provide the basis for creating a superior Zn(2+)-sensitive MRI contrast agent and are excellent candidates for incorporation into sensors designed for selective detection of Zn(2+) in biological applications.