Anomalous enhancement of fluorescence of carbon dots through lanthanum doping and potential application in intracellular imaging of ferric ion
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An anomalous enhancement of fluorescence of carbon dots (CDs) was observed via lanthanum (La) doping. La-doped CDs (La-CDs) were prepared through microwave pyrolysis within 4 min. With La3+ doping, the emission band shifted from blue to green although La3+ is non-fluorescent. The quantum yield and fluorescence lifetime improved by about 20% and 35%, respectively. All experiment results indicate that La3+ doping is an effective way to tune fluorescence and improve the performance of CDs. Another unique attribute of La-CDs is high sensitivity to Fe3+. The La-CD-based fluorescence probe was established and used for sensitive and selective detection of Fe3+ with a limit of detection of 91 nmol/L. The proposed fluorescence probe also was successfully employed to visualize intracellular Fe3+ in live HeLa cells through cell imaging. It was also shown that yttrium exhibited the same fluorescence enhancement effect as La. The results may provide a new route for preparing CDs with special properties.
Keywordsrear earth doping carbon dots fluorescence tuning ferric ion cell imaging
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The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 21375005, 21575054 and 21527808).
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