Microchimica Acta

, 185:223 | Cite as

Hollow carbon dots labeled with FITC or TRITC for use in fluorescent cellular imaging

  • Menghuan Tang
  • Ping Teng
  • Yijuan Long
  • Xiliang Wang
  • Liping Liang
  • Dongjun Shen
  • Jie Wang
  • Huzhi Zheng
Original Paper


Hollow carbon dots (HCDs) were prepared by a solvothermal method and conjugated to either tetramethyl rhodamine isothiocyanate (TRITC) or fluorescein-5-isothiocyanate (FITC). This resulted in HCDs with bright red or green fluorescence, with excitation/emission peaks at 550/580 and 491/520 nm, respectively. The nanocomposites are well water-soluble, remarkably photostable and biocompatible. In addition, the fluorescence of the composites is more stable in a reactive oxygen environment than the free dyes. Confocal images indicate that the nanoparticles quickly enter A549 cells and mainly accumulate in the cytoplasm. The wavelength of functionalized HCDs can be regulating via coupling the HCDs to different dyes. These results demonstrate that these composite materials can be very promising reagents for biological labeling and imaging.

Graphical abstract

Schematic of the preparation of hollow carbon dots conjugated to tetramethyl rhodamine isothiocyanate (RHCDs) by solvothermal method. The material is water-soluble, remarkably photostable and biocompatible. It was applied to cellular labeling and imaging.


Fluorescein-5-isothiocyanate Tetramethylrhodamine isothiocyanate Fluorescence imaging Nanomaterials Bioimaging 



This work was supported by the National Key Scientific Program Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (No. 2011CB933600), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 21405124).

Compliance with ethical standards

The author(s) declare that they have no competing interests.

Supplementary material

604_2018_2761_MOESM1_ESM.doc (20.5 mb)
ESM 1 (DOC 20947 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Menghuan Tang
    • 1
  • Ping Teng
    • 1
  • Yijuan Long
    • 1
  • Xiliang Wang
    • 1
  • Liping Liang
    • 1
  • Dongjun Shen
    • 1
  • Jie Wang
    • 1
  • Huzhi Zheng
    • 1
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Luminescent and Real-Time Analytical Chemistry (Southwest University), Ministry of Education, College of Chemistry and Chemical EngineeringSouthwest UniversityChongqingPeople’s Republic of China

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