Microchimica Acta

, 186:604 | Cite as

Nitrogen- and sulfur-doped carbon dots as peroxidase mimetics: colorimetric determination of hydrogen peroxide and glutathione, and fluorimetric determination of lead(II)

  • Mingyu Tang
  • Baoya Zhu
  • Ying Wang
  • Hongbo Wu
  • Fang ChaiEmail author
  • Fengyu QuEmail author
  • Zhongmin SuEmail author
Original Paper


Fluorescent carbon dots co-doped with nitrogen and sulfur (N/S CDs) were prepared and found to display viable peroxidase mimicking activity. They have a blue fluorescence (with excitation/emission maxima at 340/456 nm) with a quantum yield of 35%. The N/S CDs catalyze the oxidation of 3,3,5,5-tetramethylbenzidine (TMB) in the presence of H2O2, and this leads to the appearance of a blue solution with a absorption maximum at 654 nm. A colorimetric method was developed for the determination of H2O2 that has a 1.75 μM detection limit and a linear response in the 10−5 to 10−4 M concentration range. The method can be extended to the enzymatic determination of glutathione with a 0.26 μM detection limit and a working range from 0.20 to 100 μM. In addition, the CDs respond to lead(II) which is a quencher of the blue fluorescence at 456 nm, with a detection limit of 11 μM and a working range up to 100 μM. Simultaneously, the color changes can be visually detected with absorbance signal changes from 10 to 100 μM with limit of 3.9 μM. A multiple detection system was worked out that allows monitoring of H2O2 and glutathione successively, and of lead(II).

Graphical abstract

(A) Schematic representation of the nitrogen & sulphur doped carbon dots with blue fluorescence, (B) the peroxidase-like activity in colorimetric detecting of H2O2 and GSH and (C) the illustration for the application of Pb2+ detection with fluorescence and colorimetric method.


Carbon quantum dots Nanoprobe Colorimetric Static quenching Catalyst Pb2 +  Doping Hydrogen peroxide Detecting GSH 



This work was supported by Heilongjiang Postdoctoral fund (LBH-Q17084), Heilongjiang Provincial Education Department (Project No. 12511141) and Harbin normal university (HSDSSCX2018-20).

Compliance with ethical standards

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

Supplementary material

604_2019_3710_MOESM1_ESM.doc (2.6 mb)
ESM 1 (DOC 2629 kb)


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Photochemical Biomaterials and Energy Storage Materials, Heilongjiang Province; College of Chemistry and Chemical EngineeringHarbin Normal UniversityHarbinPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Key Laboratory for Photonic and Electronic Bandgap Materials, Ministry of EducationHarbin Normal UniversityHarbinPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.School of Chemistry and Environmental EngineeringChangchun University of Science and TechnologyChangchunPeople’s Republic of China

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