International Journal of Environmental Research

, Volume 13, Issue 6, pp 1015–1023 | Cite as

Highly Selective and Sensitive Sensing of Toxic Mercury Ions Utilizing Carbon Quantum Dot-Modified Glassy Carbon Electrode

  • Rasul Khan Barsana Barvin
  • Periakaruppan PrakashEmail author
  • Venkatachalam Ganesh
  • Balasubramanian Jeyaprabha
Research paper


In this paper, a novel synthesis of 1 nm sized metal-free carbon quantum dots (CQDs) and their electrochemical application vis-à-vis mercury (Hg) sensing have been demonstrated. The characterization of synthesized CQDs was done by FT-IR, HR-TEM, XRD and UV–Vis analysis. Furthermore, the CQD-modified electrode shows an excellent sensing ability toward deleterious Hg ion even when 600-fold of excess of interfering ions such as Cu2+, Pb2+, Cd2+, Na+, K+, Mg2+, Ba2+, Bi2+, Fe2+, Zn2+ and Hg2+ are present. A wide linearity range (0.5–300 nM) and the lowest limit of detection (2.5 nM) are exhibited by the proposed sensor with potential scanning from − 0.7 to + 0.7 V vs Ag/AgCl at a scan rate of 20 mV. In addition, the CQD-modified electrode displays an outstanding recovery results toward Hg in various real water samples. This study promotes new possibilities of designing various electrochemical sensors based on CQD nanocomposite.


  • Fast detection of mercury ion by electrochemical method.

  • One-pot synthesis of CQDs from activated carbon obtained from coconut shell.

  • Both selective and sensitive nature of CQD-modified electrode.

  • Anti-interference ability, stability, and reproducibility of the CQD-modified electrode are highly good.


Carbon quantum dots Cyclic voltammetry Differential pulse voltammetry Electrochemical Sensing Mercury 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing financial interest.


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Copyright information

© University of Tehran 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ChemistryThiagarajar CollegeMaduraiIndia
  2. 2.Electrodics and Electrocatalysis DivisionCentral Electrochemical Research InstituteKaraikudiIndia
  3. 3.Department of Civil EngineeringSethu Institute of TechnologyVirudhunagarIndia

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