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Hg2+ detection, pH sensing and cell imaging based on bright blue-fluorescent N-doped carbon dots

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Abstract

A multifunctional sensing platform based on bright blue-fluorescent nitrogen-doped carbon dots (N-CDs) has been ingeniously designed for the sensitive determination of Hg2+ and pH. The N-CDs were facilely fabricated via a one-step hydrothermal treatment of citric acid and folic acid with admirable merits including exceptional stability, low toxicity and distinguished biocompatibility. Intriguingly, the obtained N-CDs can be utilized to detect Hg2+ on the basis of the dynamic quenching effect, showing a linear range of 0 μM–400 μM as well as a detection limit of 0.124 μM. In addition, the obtained N-CDs revealed a significant emission enhancement with increasing pH from 4.0 to 10.0 and acquired a good linearity in the pH range of 6.8–7.8. Taking advantage of efficient analysis of Hg2+ and pH in aqueous solution, the as-synthesized N-CDs have been extended to the visualization biosensing platform to timely track Hg2+ and pH in living cells.

Graphical abstract: Hg2+ detection, pH sensing and cell imaging based on bright blue-fluorescent N-doped carbon dots

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Article information


Submitted
28 Jul 2020
Accepted
17 Sep 2020
First published
22 Sep 2020

Analyst, 2020, Advance Article
Article type
Paper

Hg2+ detection, pH sensing and cell imaging based on bright blue-fluorescent N-doped carbon dots

D. Chang, L. Li, L. Shi and Y. Yang, Analyst, 2020, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/D0AN01487G

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