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Detection of Silver Nanoparticles Using Green Synthesis of Fluorescent Nitrogen-Doped Carbon Dots


In this study, we synthesized simple water-soluble nitrogen-doped carbon dots (NCDs) using a one-step hydrothermal treatment of pomegranate juice and ammonium hydroxide. These low-cost NCDs exhibit high fluorescence emission, with a maximum emission at 395 nm, which can be specifically quenched by silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) via inner filter effect in the presence of l-cysteine. Our transmission electron microscopy analysis results show that l-cysteine induces the aggregation of NCDs beside the aggregated AgNPs, thereby quenching the NCD fluorescence emission. We used this phenomenon to develop a fluorescence method for the facile detection of AgNPs with a linear range of 8.3 × 10−10–3.3 × 10−8 M and a detection limit of 3.8 × 10−10 M (3δ/slope). To evaluate the efficiency of the proposed method in a real sample, we used it to determine the concentration of AgNPs in spiked environmental water samples. The simplicity of the proposed procedure as well as its satisfactory recoveries introduces a new and potentially highly green method for the selective and rapid monitoring of AgNPs in environmental waters.

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Nitrogen-doped carbon dots


Silver nanoparticles


Carbon quantum dots




Inner filter effect


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Correspondence to Farhad Akhgari.

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Akhgari, F., Farhadi, K., Samadi, N. et al. Detection of Silver Nanoparticles Using Green Synthesis of Fluorescent Nitrogen-Doped Carbon Dots. Iran J Sci Technol Trans Sci (2020).

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  • Nitrogen-doped carbon dots
  • Silver nanoparticles
  • Fluorescence detection
  • Sensor