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Zeolite-based ship in a bottle route to ultrasmall carbon dots for live cell labeling and bioimaging

Abstract

Fluorescent carbon quantum dots (CQDs) are a new class of carbon nanomaterials that have excellent biocompatibility and low toxicity, useful for cell labeling and bioimaging. However, it is challenging to reproducibly create CQDs uniform and small in size with controlled toxicity and fluorescence properties, and this status quo hinders the practical applications of CQDs, especially in vivo. In this report, CQDs with a uniform size of ~1.53 ± 0.42 nm are synthesized via in situ pyrolysis of organics confined in the smallest-pore zeolite SAPO-20 with micropore aperture of 0.28 nm. The ultrasmall fluorescent CQDs show a bright green fluorescence with a quantum yield (QY) of 16%, higher than most of the bare CQDs without any functionalization and maximum emission at 523 nm under the irradiation of xenon-light at an excitation wavelength of 470 nm. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) characterizations confirm the rich carboxyl and hydroxyl on the CQD surface containing N- and O-based functional groups. The synthesized CQDs with high QY and low cytotoxicity have been successfully used for cellular imaging with excellent biocompatibility.

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
12 Aug 2020
Accepted
10 Oct 2020
First published
14 Oct 2020

This article is Open Access

Nanoscale Adv., 2020, Accepted Manuscript
Article type
Paper

Zeolite-based ship in a bottle route to ultrasmall carbon dots for live cell labeling and bioimaging

L. Dong, D. Hu, Y. Wang, Z. Sheng, M. Hong and S. Yang, Nanoscale Adv., 2020, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/D0NA00664E

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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    [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry.

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