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Histidine-Derived Nontoxic Nitrogen-Doped Carbon Dots for Sensing and Bioimaging Applications

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journal contribution
posted on 18.11.2014, 00:00 by He Huang, Chunguang Li, Shoujun Zhu, Hailong Wang, Cailing Chen, Zhaorui Wang, Tianyu Bai, Zhan Shi, Shouhua Feng
Nitrogen-doped (N-doped) photoluminescent carbon dots (CDs) were prepared by a one-pot microwave-assisted hydrothermal treatment using histidine as the sole carbon source in the absence of acid, alkali, or metal ions. With a diameter of 2–5 nm, the synthesized CDs had apparent lattice fringes and exhibited an excitation-dependent photoluminescent behavior. The CDs were highly yielded, well-dispersed in aqueous solution, and showed high photostability in the solutions of a wide range of pH and salinity. They were used as probes to identify the presence of Fe3+ ions with a detection limit of 10 nM. With confirmed nontoxicity, these CDs could enter the cancer cells, indicating a practical potential for cellular imaging and labeling.