Hydrothermal synthesis of N,S co-doped carbon nanodots for highly selective detection of living cancer cells†
This study presents a facile synthesis method for the preparation of positively charged N,S co-doped carbon nanodots with excellent optical properties, and it develops a selective method for fluorescent detection of living cancer cells. The specific recognition is due to the application of an aptamer sequence, which shows high affinity and specificity to target cells. The aptamer is firstly labeled with BHQ and wraps around the carbon nanodots, then it finally quenches the fluorescence emission of the carbon nanodots. For the sensitive and selective analysis of target cells, the cells are simply mixed with the carbon nanodot–aptamer nanoconjugates, which are then centrifuged at a low speed. The recognition reaction between aptamer and target cells releases the quencher from the surface of the carbon nanodots and the centrifugation process enables the recovery of fluorescence intensity of the suspension, which reflects the level of initial cancer cells. The developed method is simple, highly selective and cost-effective, thus, it may be further exploited in clinical applications in the future.
- This article is part of the themed collection: International Year of the Periodic Table : Low Dimensional Carbon Systems