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Synthesis of highly stable red-emissive carbon polymer dots by modulated polymerization: from mechanism to application in intracellular pH imaging

Abstract

Great efforts have been paid to develop facile and efficient methods to prepare carbonaceous nanostructures with long-wavelength emission. Herein, we report a low-temperature aqueous strategy to synthesize red-emissive carbon polymer dots (R-CPDs) through the regulation of oxidative polymerization of p-phenylenediamine at 80°C. The morphology, chemical composition and photophysical property of the R-CPDs are characterized and analyzed in detail, thereby elucidating their photoluminescence origins from the surface state and crosslink enhanced emission effect. The resulting R-CPDs possess unique features including high pH-sensitivity within pH 4−6 and wide-range tunable solvent-color effect (λem 528−600 nm). Moreover, the R-CPDs show high stability in physiological medium with high salinity, and good resistance to photobleaching. In addition to their favorable biocompatibility, the R-CPDs are applied for monitoring pH fluctuation in HeLa cells. This study not only provides a unique red emissive carbonaceous nanomaterial for cellular imaging and multicolor applications, but also presents a novel perspective for the construction of long-wavelength emission carbon-based nanomaterials with simple and controllable strategies.

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Publication details

The article was received on 10 Oct 2018, accepted on 07 Nov 2018 and first published on 07 Nov 2018


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C8NR08208A
Citation: Nanoscale, 2018, Accepted Manuscript
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    Synthesis of highly stable red-emissive carbon polymer dots by modulated polymerization: from mechanism to application in intracellular pH imaging

    J. Xia, S. Chen, G. Zou, Y. Yu and J. Wang, Nanoscale, 2018, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C8NR08208A

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