Green synthesis of carbon dots originated from Lycii Fructus for effective fluorescent sensing of ferric ion and multicolor cell imaging

Xiaohan Sun, Jiang He, Shenghong Yang, Mingda Zheng, Yingying Wang, Shuang Ma, Haipeng Zheng
Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology. B, Biology 2017 September 1, 175: 219-225
Green, economical and effective method was developed for synthesis of fluorescent carbon dots (CDs), using one-pot hydrothermal treatment of Lycii Fructus. Optical and structural properties of the CDs have been extensively studied by UV-visible and fluorescence spectroscopic, x-ray diffraction (XRD) techniques, transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and high resolution TEM (HRTEM). Surface functionality and composition of CDs has been illustrated by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) spectra and elemental analysis. The fabricated CDs possess stable fluorescent properties. The fluorescent quantum yield of the CDs can reach 17.2%. The prepared CDs emitted a broad fluorescence between 415 and 545nm and their fluorescence was tuned by changing excitation wavelength. Meanwhile, the fluorescence intensity of the CDs could be significantly quenched by Fe(3+) (turn-off). The CDs exhibit captivating sensitivity and selectivity toward Fe(3+) with a linear range from 0 to 30μM and a detection limit of 21nM. The prepared CDs were successfully applied to the determination of Fe(3+) in the urine samples, the water samples from the from the Yellow River and living HeLa (Henrietta Lacks) cells. Moreover, the low-toxicity and excellent biocompatibility of the CDs were evaluated through MTT assay on HeLa cells. The CDs were also employed as fluorescent probes for multicolor imaging of HeLa cells successfully.

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