Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 411, Issue 25, pp 6645–6653 | Cite as

Carbon dots as an “on-off-on” fluorescent probe for detection of Cu(II) ion, ascorbic acid, and acid phosphatase

  • Xin Ma
  • Shijun Lin
  • Yunfei Dang
  • Yu DaiEmail author
  • Xiaojin ZhangEmail author
  • Fan XiaEmail author
Research Paper


Carbon dot (CD)-based fluorescent probes have been widely exploited; however, multi-component detection using CDs without tedious surface modification is always a challenging task. Here, we develop a convenient and simple CD-based “on-off-on” fluorescent probe for detection of copper(II) ion (Cu2+), ascorbic acid (AA), and acid phosphatase (ACP). Cu2+ leads to the fluorescence quenching of CDs. The limit of detection (LOD) for Cu2+ is 2.4 μM. When AA is added into the CDs + Cu2+ solution, Cu2+ is reduced by AA to Cu+, causing the fluorescence recovery of CDs. The fluorescent intensity linearly correlates with the concentration of AA in the range of 100–2800 μM with LOD of 60 μM. Besides, the probe has potential application for detection of AA in real samples such as VC tablets, orange juice, and fresh orange. The probe can also indirectly detect ACP that enzymatically hydrolyzes ascorbic acid-phosphate (AAP) to produce AA. This work expands the application of CDs in the multi-component detection and provides a facile fluorescent probe for detection of AA in real samples.

Graphical abstract


Carbon dots Fluorescent detection Copper(II) ion Ascorbic acid Acid phosphatase 



This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 21603196 and 51703209) and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities, China University of Geosciences (Wuhan) (Nos. CUGL170406 and CUG170601).

Compliance with ethical standards

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Supplementary material

216_2019_2038_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (109 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 109 kb)


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Engineering Research Center of Nano-Geomaterials of Ministry of Education, Faculty of Materials Science and ChemistryChina University of GeosciencesWuhanChina

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