Microchimica Acta

, Volume 176, Issue 1–2, pp 101–107 | Cite as

Highly sensitive detection of lead(II) ion using multicolor CdTe quantum dots

  • Wenying ZhongEmail author
  • Cui Zhang
  • Qin Gao
  • Hui Li
Original Paper


Multicolor and water-soluble CdTe quantum dots (QDs) were synthesized with thioglycolic acid (TGA) as stabilizer. These QDs have a good size distribution, display high fluorescence quantum yield, and can be applied to the ultrasensitive detection of Pb(II) ion by virtue of their quenching effect. The size of the QDs exerts a strong effect on sensitivity, and quenching of luminescence is most effective for the smallest particles. The quenching mechanism is discussed. Fairly selective detection was accomplished by utilizing QDs with a diameter of 1.6 nm which resulted in a detection limit of 4.7 nmol L−1 concentration of Pb(II). The method was successfully applied to the determination of Pb(II) in spinach and citrus leaves, and the results are in good agreement with those obtained with atomic absorption spectrometry.


Five colors water-soluble CdTe QDs are synthesized with thioglycolic acid as a stabilizer. These QDs can be applied to the ultrasensitive detection of Pb2+ by virtue of their quenching effect. The size of the QDs exerts a strong effect on sensitivity, and the quenching of luminescence is most effective when the smallest particles are used. The detection limit is 4.7 nmol L−1 when QDs-I (1.6 nm) are used, which is the lowest in the current related study.


CdTe quantum dots (QDs) Multicolor Fluorescence quenching Lead(II) 



This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 20975050) and Jiangsu Province Program of Top-level Talents.

Supplementary material

604_2011_695_MOESM1_ESM.doc (210 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 210 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Analytical ChemistryChina Pharmaceutical UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.Agricultural Products Inspection Center of Jiangsu ProvinceNanjingChina
  3. 3.School of Chemistry and Chemical EngineeringNanjing UniversityNanjingChina

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