The synthesis of some heteroleptic, cyclometalated iridium(III) complexes is described. The utility of these [Ir(ppy)(2)(N-N)]Cl (ppy=2-phenylpyridine and N-N=substituted bipyridine, biquinoline, or phenanthroline) complexes as luminescence-based sensors is assessed. The emission intensity of an Ir(III) complex featuring the 3,3'-H(n)dcbpy ligand (H(n)dcbpy=dicarboxylic acid-2,2'-bipyridine; n=0,1,2 to indicate deprotonated, mono-and diprotonated species, respectively) is seen to increase in the presence of Pb(II). Insight into the structure and analyte-sensing capability is achieved by X-ray crystallography in conjunction with computational modeling. Complexes incorporating carboxylic acid-functionalized bipyridine and biquinoline as the polypyridyl ligand show pH sensitivity while similar phenanthroline complexes do not.