Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Santa Cruz

UC Santa Cruz Previously Published Works bannerUC Santa Cruz

Highly Photoluminescent and Stable N-Doped Carbon Dots as Nanoprobes for Hg2+ Detection.


We developed a microreactor with porous copper fibers for synthesizing nitrogen-doped carbon dots (N-CDs) with a high stability and photoluminescence (PL) quantum yield (QY). By optimizing synthesis conditions, including the reaction temperature, flow rate, ethylenediamine dosage, and porosity of copper fibers, the N-CDs with a high PL QY of 73% were achieved. The PL QY of N-CDs was two times higher with copper fibers than without. The interrelations between the copper fibers with different porosities and the N-CDs were investigated using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and Fourier Transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). The results demonstrate that the elemental contents and surface functional groups of N-CDs are significantly influenced by the porosity of copper fibers. The N-CDs can be used to effectively and selectively detect Hg2+ ions with a good linear response in the 0~50 μM Hg2+ ions concentration range, and the lowest limit of detection (LOD) is 2.54 nM, suggesting that the N-CDs have great potential for applications in the fields of environmental and hazard detection. Further studies reveal that the different d orbital energy levels of Hg2+ compared to those of other metal ions can affect the efficiency of electron transfer and thereby result in their different response in fluorescence quenching towards N-CDs.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View