Macromolecular Research

, Volume 27, Issue 7, pp 720–728 | Cite as

pH-Selective Fluorescent Probe with Photothermal Ablation of Bacteria Based NIR Dye-Embedded Zwitterionic Carbon Dots

  • Eun Bi Kang
  • Pham Thi My Phuong
  • Gibaek Lee
  • Sangkug Lee
  • Insik In
  • Sung Young ParkEmail author


We developed a highly pH-sensitive fluorescent carbon dot probe containing IR825 photothermal dye for rapid detection of environmental bacteria, with subsequent killing activity via near-infrared (NIR) driven photothermal ablation. The IR825-loaded fluorescent carbon dot (I-CD) interacted strongly with the negative charge of bacterial surface, expressed via fluorescence ON/OFF behavior under a broad range of pH conditions, by modifying the zwitterionic conformation of the carbon dot. In acidic and basic conditions, I-CD is activated, losing its hydrophobicity in neutral condition and releasing IR825, inducing NIR-mediated photothermal activity. Release of IR825 from the I-CD core contributed to high thermal conversion, killing bacterial cells with 99% efficiency. This material shows potential to be used as a convenient, rapid, low-cost, high-sensitivity fluorescent bacterial biosensor, combined with effective bacterial killing activity via photothermal conversion with pH and NIR triggers.


bacteria detection zwitterion photothermal effect fluorescent carbon dot 


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Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© The Polymer Society of Korea and Springer 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eun Bi Kang
    • 1
  • Pham Thi My Phuong
    • 2
  • Gibaek Lee
    • 1
  • Sangkug Lee
    • 3
  • Insik In
    • 2
    • 4
  • Sung Young Park
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Chemical and Biological EngineeringKorea National University of TransportationChungju, ChungbukKorea
  2. 2.Department of IT ConvergenceKorea National University of TransportationChungju, ChungbukKorea
  3. 3.IT Convergence Material R&D GroupKorea Institute of Industrial TechnologyCheonan, ChungnamKorea
  4. 4.Department of Polymer Science and EngineeringKorea National University of TransportationChungju, ChungbukKorea

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