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Nano Lett. 2014 May 14;14(5):2702-8. doi: 10.1021/nl500608w. Epub 2014 Apr 21.

Solar-driven photoelectrochemical probing of nanodot/nanowire/cell interface.

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Laboratory of Advanced Materials, Department of Chemistry, Fudan University , Shanghai, 200433, China.


We report a nitrogen-doped carbon nanodot (N-Cdot)/TiO2 nanowire photoanode for solar-driven, real-time, and sensitive photoelectrochemical probing of the cellular generation of H2S, an important endogenous gasotransmitter based on a tunable interfacial charge carrier transfer mechanism. Synthesized by a microwave-assisted solvothermal method and subsequent surface chemical conjugation, the obtained N-Cdot/TiO2 nanowire photoanode shows much enhanced photoelectrochemical photocurrent compared with pristine TiO2 nanowires. This photocurrent increase is attributed to the injection of photogenerated electrons from N-Cdots to TiO2 nanowires, confirmed by density functional theory simulation. In addition, the charge transfer efficiency is quenched by Cu(2+), whereas the introduction of H2S or S(2-) ions resets the charge transfer and subsequently the photocurrent, thus leading to sensitive photoelectrochemical recording of the H2S level in buffer and cellular environments. Moreover, this N-Cdot-TiO2 nanowire photoanode has been demonstrated for direct growth and interfacing of H9c2 cardiac myoblasts, with the capability of interrogating H2S cellular generation pathways by vascular endothelial growth factor stimulation as well as inhibition.

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