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An “on–off–on” selective fluorescent probe based on nitrogen and sulfur co-doped carbon dots for detecting Cu2+ and GSH in living cells

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Abstract

The abnormal level of Cu2+ or GSH can cause variety of neurodegenerative diseases in humans. Thus, the selective and sensitive detection of Cu2+ and GSH has inspired intensive research efforts in biological sample analysis fields. Herein, an “on–off–on” fluorescent probe based on nitrogen and sulfur co-doped carbon dots (N,S-CDs) has been successfully prepared for the detection of Cu2+ and GSH. The “turn-off” process of fluorescence in the presence of Cu2+ ions was induced by forming a non-luminescent ground state complex due to the interaction between surface groups of the probe and Cu2+ ions. Moreover, the strong coordination between GSH and Cu2+ could destroy the structure of the complex and restore the fluorescence to “turn-on”. This fluorescent probe had excellent selectivity and high sensitivity toward Cu2+ and GSH with the limits of detection (LODs) of 38 nM and 41 nM. More importantly, the as-prepared N,S-CDs served as an efficient fluorescent probe for not only detecting Cu2+ ions in lake water and tap water, and GSH in BSA solution, but also sensing Cu2+ and GSH in living cells. Therefore, these N,S-CDs could be considered as a promising fluorescence probe candidate for environmental monitoring and biological imaging.

Graphical abstract: An “on–off–on” selective fluorescent probe based on nitrogen and sulfur co-doped carbon dots for detecting Cu2+ and GSH in living cells

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
02 Sep 2020
Accepted
28 Sep 2020
First published
05 Oct 2020

Anal. Methods, 2020, Advance Article
Article type
Paper

An “on–off–on” selective fluorescent probe based on nitrogen and sulfur co-doped carbon dots for detecting Cu2+ and GSH in living cells

S. Wei, T. Li, X. Zhang, H. Zhang, C. Jiang and G. Sun, Anal. Methods, 2020, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/D0AY01662D

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