Fluorescent recognition and selective detection of nitrite ions with carbon quantum dots

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The nitrite ion (NO2) is a vital inorganic species that occurs both in natural ecological systems and human bodies. The high concentration of NO2 can be harmful for animal and human health. It is important to develop a simple, sensitive, reliable, and economic methodology to precisely monitor NO2 in various environmental and biological fields. Thus, a novel nitrite biosensor based on carbon quantum dots (PA-CDs) has been constructed and prepared via a high-efficiency, one-pot hydrothermal route using primary arylamines (PA) such as m-phenylenediamine. The device exhibits bright green fluorescence and a high quantum yield of 20.1% in water. In addition, the PA-CDs also possess two broad linear ranges: 0.05–1.0 μM and 1.0–50 μM with a low detection limit of 7.1 nM. The classical diazo reaction is firstly integrated into the PA-CD system by primary arylamines, which endows the system with high sensitivity and specific selectivity towards nitrite. Importantly, the nanosensor can detect NO2 in environmental water and serum samples with high fluorescence recoveries, demonstrating its feasibility in practical applications. This work broadens a new method to fabricate novel nanosensors and provides a prospective application for fluorescent carbon quantum dots (CDs).

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Correspondence to Saipeng Huang or Weiming Xue.

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Li, W., Huang, S., Wen, H. et al. Fluorescent recognition and selective detection of nitrite ions with carbon quantum dots. Anal Bioanal Chem (2020) doi:10.1007/s00216-019-02325-9

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  • Carbon quantum dots
  • Nitrite
  • Diazo reaction
  • Primary arylamines
  • Fluorescence