Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 54, Issue 9, pp 6815–6825 | Cite as

Full-color carbon dots with multiple red-emission tuning: on/off sensors, in vitro and in vivo multicolor bioimaging

  • Feng Huo
  • Wenfei Liang
  • Yuran Tang
  • Wei ZhangEmail author
  • Xiaohong Liu
  • Desheng Pei
  • Huabin Wang
  • Weijiao Jia
  • Panpan Jia
  • Feng Yang
Chemical routes to materials


Carbon-based luminescent materials have attracted much attention of many researchers in recent years for its better optical properties and biological applications. In this paper, we report the full-color CDs (from blue to red) with better quality red emissive by a facile and efficient synthesis route. The CDs show multiple red-emission tuning, unique nature of up-conversion photoluminescent under lower excitation and single-particle photoluminescent. The luminescence mechanism was also explored preliminarily. Especially, the results demonstrate that full-color CDs with multiple red wavelength tuning were achieved successfully by using only one precursor and this phenomenon was reasonably explored by using solvatochromism mechanism instead of only excitation-dependent or emission tuning. Moreover, the multicolor FL emission of CDs is caused by single particles rather than a mixture with diverse photoluminescent, which can be expanded to precision manufacture field on luminance, but not just limited to multidimensions biosensing. In addition, UCPL under lower excitation implies the more important potential applications in surface layer bioimaging, microarray detection and light activation technology in vivo and in vitro. The full-color CDs show high quantum yield (73.89%) and superior anti-photobleaching. Multicolor bioimaging, in vitro and in vivo, indicates its low toxicity in Hela cells and zebrafish. Besides, the as-prepared CDs were successfully used for multidimensions sensing, as Fe3+ metal ion sensing (on/off).



This work was supported by research funding from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 61575196), Major Project of Science & Technology Department in Sichan Province (2016JY0168), Youth Innovation Promotion Association of CAS (2015316), the National High Technology Research and Development Program of China (863 Program 2015AA021107), Three Hundred Leading Talents in Scientific and Technological Innovation Program of Chongqing (No. CSTCCXLJRC201714 to D.S.P.).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10853_2019_3370_MOESM1_ESM.docx (5.1 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 5185 kb)


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Analytical Testing Center, Institute of Micro/Nano Intelligent SensingNeijiang Normal UniversityNeijiangPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Chongqing Institute of Green and Intelligent TechnologyChinese Academy of SciencesChongqingPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Chongqing Youth Vocational & Technical CollegeChongqingPeople’s Republic of China
  4. 4.Superconductivity and New Energy R&D Center, Key Laboratory of Advanced Technology of Materials (Ministry of Education of China)Southwest Jiaotong UniversityChengduPeople’s Republic of China

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