Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 411, Issue 6, pp 1159–1167 | Cite as

Proton-controlled synthesis of red-emitting carbon dots and application for hematin detection in human erythrocytes

  • Yan Jun Ju
  • Na Li
  • Shi Gang Liu
  • Jia Yu Liang
  • Xin Gao
  • Yu Zhu Fan
  • Hong Qun LuoEmail author
  • Nian Bing LiEmail author
Research Paper


The Red-emitting nitrogen-doped carbon dots (N-CDs) are synthesized using o-phenylenediamine by a one-step method, and can serve as a fluorescent probe for “turn off” detection of hematin in human red cells. The red-emitting N-CDs can be obtained only in acidic conditions and the emission of the red-emitting N-CDs is pH-dependent, indicating proton-controlled synthesis and emission. The red-emitting N-CDs are 2.7 nm in mean size and have a uniform dispersion and exhibit a high quantum yield (12.8%) and great optical properties. The developed sensing system for hematin displays a linear response from 0.4 to 32 μM with a detection limit of 0.18 μM. Importantly, this fluorescent probe demonstrates a good potential practicability for the quantitative detection of hematin in complex matrixes.

Graphical abstract


N-Doped carbon dots Red emission Proton-controlled synthesis Hematin detection Human erythrocytes 


Funding information

This study received financial support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 21675131) and the Innovation Foundation of Chongqing City for Postgraduate (CYB 16053).

Compliance with ethical standards

The study was approved by the Ethics Committee of Southwest University, and written informed consent was obtained from all individuals participating in the study prior to the collection of the human blood samples.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Supplementary material

216_2018_1547_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (1 mb)
ESM 1 (PDF 1072 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yan Jun Ju
    • 1
  • Na Li
    • 1
  • Shi Gang Liu
    • 1
  • Jia Yu Liang
    • 1
  • Xin Gao
    • 1
  • Yu Zhu Fan
    • 1
  • Hong Qun Luo
    • 1
    Email author
  • Nian Bing Li
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Eco-environments in Three Gorges Reservoir Region (Ministry of Education), School of Chemistry and Chemical EngineeringSouthwest UniversityChongqingChina

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