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Issue 70, 2017, Issue in Progress
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Aconitic acid derived carbon dots as recyclable “on–off–on” fluorescent nanoprobes for sensitive detection of mercury(II) ions, cysteine and cellular imaging

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Abstract

In this study, aconitic acid (AA) was applied as a new carbon precursor for the fabrication of fluorescent carbon dots (CDs) using a facile one-step microwave-assisted synthesis approach with ethylenediamine as the co-doping reagent. The AA derived CDs (AA–CDs) were water-soluble and the aqueous solution of AA–CDs exhibited excitation-independent, bright blue fluorescence with an absolute quantum yield of 45.1%. Without further surface modification, the intrinsic fluorescence can be gradually quenched by the incremental addition of Hg2+ ions through an effective electron or energy transfer process due to the high affinity of Hg2+ to AA–CDs. By introducing cysteine (Cys) into the AA–CDs–Hg2+ system, the quenched fluorescence will be recovered via the formation of Hg–S bonds, which can be utilized to further enhance the selectivity for sensing Hg2+ ions. Based on the “on–off–on” system, we established a sensitive and selective fluorescence sensor for turn-off detection of Hg2+ ions and turn-on detection of Cys in aqueous solution, with detection limits of 5.5 and 30 nM, respectively. The fluorescence of AA–CDs could be repeatedly turned off and on for over 10 cycles by alternately adding Hg2+ ions and Cys, suggesting excellent reversibility. Furthermore, the prepared AA–CDs were successfully applied for the determination of Hg2+ in environmental water samples, and also as fluorescent nanoprobes for imaging Hg2+ ions and Cys in living cells.

Graphical abstract: Aconitic acid derived carbon dots as recyclable “on–off–on” fluorescent nanoprobes for sensitive detection of mercury(ii) ions, cysteine and cellular imaging

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Publication details

The article was received on 22 Jul 2017, accepted on 06 Sep 2017 and first published on 13 Sep 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7RA08097B
Citation: RSC Adv., 2017,7, 44178-44185
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY-NC license
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    Aconitic acid derived carbon dots as recyclable “on–off–on” fluorescent nanoprobes for sensitive detection of mercury(II) ions, cysteine and cellular imaging

    F. Zhao, J. Qian, F. Quan, C. Wu, Y. Zheng and L. Zhou, RSC Adv., 2017, 7, 44178
    DOI: 10.1039/C7RA08097B

    This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported Licence. Material from this article can be used in other publications provided that the correct acknowledgement is given with the reproduced material and it is not used for commercial purposes.

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