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J Fluoresc. 2017 Sep;27(5):1597-1605. doi: 10.1007/s10895-017-2095-1. Epub 2017 Apr 11.

A Dual-Readout Method for Biothiols Detection Based on the NSET of Nitrogen-Doped Carbon Quantum Dots-Au Nanoparticles System.

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School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Hunan Institute of Engineering, Xiangtan, 411104, China.
School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Hunan Institute of Engineering, Xiangtan, 411104, China.


In this paper, a rapid, simple and highly sensitive method with dual-readout (colorimetric and fluorometric) based on the nanometal surface energy transfer (NSET) between nitrogen-doped carbon quantum dots (NCQDs) and gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) for detection of biothiols is described. Highly luminescent NCQDs were prepared via a simple one-step hydrothermal method by applying sucrose and glycine as carbon and nitrogen sources. The results showed the obtained NCQDs had an average particle diameter of 5 nm and highly luminescent. The maximum emission wavelength was 438 nm with an excitation wavelength of 360 nm. In this system, NCQDs and AuNPs were respectively treated as energy donors and energy acceptors, which enable the nanometal surface energy transfer (NSET) from the NCQDs to the AuNPs, quenching the fluorescence. However, biothiols was used as a competitor in the NSET by the strongly Au-S bonding to release NCQDs from the Au surface, which subsequently produces fluorescent signal recovery and the red-to-purple color change quickly. This probe showed rapid response, high selectivity and sensitivity for biothiols with dual colorimetric and fluorescent turn-on signal changes. The low detection limit was calculated as 20 nM by using L-cysteine acted as target melocules. The method was also successfully applied to the determination of biothiols in human serum samples, and the results were satisfying.


Biothiols; Colorimetric; Fluorometric; Nanometal surface energy transfer; Nitrogen-doped carbon quantum dots (NCQDs)

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