Microchimica Acta

, 186:67 | Cite as

Nitrogen-doped carbon dots with high quantum yield for colorimetric and fluorometric detection of ferric ions and in a fluorescent ink

  • Xu Zhou
  • Genfu Zhao
  • Xiaoping Tan
  • Xingcan QianEmail author
  • Ting Zhang
  • Jingwei Gui
  • Long YangEmail author
  • Xiaoguang XieEmail author
Original Paper


Nitrogen-doped carbon dots (N-CDs) with a quantum yield of 41 ± 3% and excellent stability were prepared and are shown to be viable probes for the determination of ferric ions, which is a strong quencher of fluorescence. The absorption peak of the N-CDs is located at 325 nm. The optimal excitation and emission wavelengths of the N-CDs are 340 nm and 430 nm, respectively. The fluorometric response to Fe(III) is linear in the ranges between 1.0 and 21.0 μM and between 0.05 and 30.0 μM, and the limits of detection are 0.28 μM in case of colorimetry and 13.5 nM in case of fluorometry. Quenching by Fe(III) is mainly attributed to a combination of chelation (static quenching) and inner filter effect. The N-CDs also can be used as a new sort of fluorescent ink owing to the strong luminous performance and chemical inertness.

Graphic abstract

The illustration for synthesis of the N-CDs and its applications for colorimetric and fluorescent detection of Fe3+ and fluorescent ink.


Photoluminescence Quenching mechanism Stern-Volmer plot Static quenching Inner filter effect Coordination interaction Fluorescence lifetime Isoelectric point Zeta potential Hydrothermal method 



This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 21864024), the Program for Leading Talents, Department of Science and Technology of Yunnan Province (grant no. 2017HA013) and the Basic Research Project of Science and Technology Commission of Chongqing (grant no. cstc2017jcyjA0656 and cstc2017jcyjAX0031).

Compliance with ethical standards

The author(s) declare that they have no competing interests.

Supplementary material

604_2018_3176_MOESM1_ESM.docx (6 mb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 5.95 mb)


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Chemical Science and TechnologyYunnan UniversityKunmingChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory for Forest Resources Conservation and Utilization in the Southwest Mountains of China, Ministry of Education, Yunnan Province Key Lab of Wood Adhesives and Glued Products, School of Materials Science and EngineeringSouthwest Forestry UniversityKunmingChina
  3. 3.Key Lab of Inorganic Special Functional Materials, Chongqing Municipal Education Commission, School of Chemistry and Chemical EngineeringYangtze Normal UniversityChongqingChina

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