Microchimica Acta

, Volume 182, Issue 3–4, pp 763–770 | Cite as

Synthesis of nitrogen-doped and amino acid-functionalized graphene quantum dots from glycine, and their application to the fluorometric determination of ferric ion

  • Linbo Li
  • Lin Li
  • Chao Wang
  • Kangyu Liu
  • Ruohua Zhu
  • Hong Qiang
  • Yuqing LinEmail author
Original Paper


We report on a single-step thermolysis strategy to prepare highly luminescent nitrogen-doped and amino acid-functionalized graphene quantum dots (NA-GQDs) by using glycine as both carbon and nitrogen source. The NA-GQDs display an excitation wavelength-dependent fluorescence with maximum excitation and emission wavelengths of 380 and 450 nm, respectively, and a quantum yield of ~16 %. Fluorescence is quenched by Fe(III) and Hg(II), and the effect was used to develop a method for the determination of Fe(III). Quenching by Fe(III) is attributed to its higher thermodynamic affinity (compared to other transition-metal ions) for the ligands on the GQDs in which nitrogen atoms mainly act as the chelating atoms. A linear relationship was observed between fluorescence intensity and the concentration of Fe(III) over the 0.5 μM to 0.5 mM range. The detection limit is 0.1 μM.

Graphical Abstract

The amino acid glycine can act as both a carbon and nitrogen source to synthesize nitrogen-doped and amino acid-functionalized graphene quantum dots within 20 min by thermolysis at 190 °C. The dots can be used for the fluorometric determination of Fe(III) ions.


Nitrogen-doped and amino acid-functionalized graphene quantum dots Glycine Thermolysis strategy Ferric ion detection 



This work was financially supported by National Natural Science Foundation (21375088), Scientific Research Project of Beijing Educational Committee (KM201410028006), Scientific Research Base Development Program of the Beijing Municipal Commission of Education and the 2013 Program of Scientific Research Foundation for the Returned Overseas Chinese Scholars of Beijing Municipality.

Supplementary material

604_2014_1383_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (237 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 236 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Linbo Li
    • 1
    • 2
  • Lin Li
    • 3
  • Chao Wang
    • 1
  • Kangyu Liu
    • 1
  • Ruohua Zhu
    • 1
  • Hong Qiang
    • 1
  • Yuqing Lin
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of ChemistryCapital Normal UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.College of Resources Environment and TourismCapital Normal UniversityBeijingChina
  3. 3.Chaoyang District Center for Disease Control and preventionBeijingChina

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