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Issue 10, 2016
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Bottom-up electrochemical preparation of solid-state carbon nanodots directly from nitriles/ionic liquids using carbon-free electrodes and the applications in specific ferric ion detection and cell imaging

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Abstract

Carbon nanodots (C-dots), a new type of potential alternative to conventional semiconductor quantum dots, have attracted numerous attentions in various applications including bio-chemical sensing, cell imaging, etc., due to their chemical inertness, low toxicity and flexible functionalization. Various methods including electrochemical (EC) methods have been reported for the synthesis of C-dots. However, complex procedures and/or carbon source-containing electrodes are often required. Herein, solid-state C-dots were simply prepared by bottom-up EC carbonization of nitriles (e.g. acetonitrile) in the presence of an ionic liquid [e.g. 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium hexafluorophosphate (BMIMPF6)], using carbon-free electrodes. Due to the positive charges of BMIM+ on the C-dots, the final products presented in a precipitate form on the cathode, and the unreacted nitriles and BMIMPF6 can be easily removed by simple vacuum filtration. The as-prepared solid-state C-dots can be well dispersed in an aqueous medium with excellent photoluminescence properties. The average size of the C-dots was found to be 3.02 ± 0.12 nm as evidenced by transmission electron microscopy. Other techniques such as UV-vis spectroscopy, fluorescence spectroscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and atomic force microscopy were applied for the characterization of the C-dots and to analyze the possible generation mechanism. These C-dots have been successfully applied in efficient cell imaging and specific ferric ion detection.

Graphical abstract: Bottom-up electrochemical preparation of solid-state carbon nanodots directly from nitriles/ionic liquids using carbon-free electrodes and the applications in specific ferric ion detection and cell imaging

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Publication details

The article was received on 04 Jan 2016, accepted on 04 Feb 2016 and first published on 05 Feb 2016


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C6NR00023A
Citation: Nanoscale, 2016,8, 5470-5477
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    Bottom-up electrochemical preparation of solid-state carbon nanodots directly from nitriles/ionic liquids using carbon-free electrodes and the applications in specific ferric ion detection and cell imaging

    F. Niu, Y. Xu, M. Liu, J. Sun, P. Guo and J. Liu, Nanoscale, 2016, 8, 5470
    DOI: 10.1039/C6NR00023A

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