Microchimica Acta

, 186:294 | Cite as

A FRET-based fluorescent probe for hydrogen peroxide based on the use of carbon quantum dots conjugated to gold nanoclusters

  • Qi Zhao
  • Chaohui Zhou
  • Qingye Yang
  • Zhongyun Chu
  • Nengqin JiaEmail author
Original Paper


In the Fenton reaction, ferrous ion acts as a catalyst and reacts with hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) to produce hydroxy radicals (·OH) and hydroperoxy radicals (·OOH). Both have much stronger oxidization ability than H2O2. A fluorescent probe for H2O2 is described here that was obtained by covalent conjugation of carbon quantum dots to gold nanoclusters (AuNCs). The conjugate, under 360 nm photoexcitation, displays dual (blue and red) emission, with peaks located at 450 and 640 nm. When introducing ·OH radicals via the Fenton reaction, the fluorescence intensities of both the CQDs and the AuNCs are decreased. The ratio of the fluorescence at the two peaks is related to the concentration of H2O2 in the 1.25 nM to 10 μM concentration range, and the detection limit is 0.16 nM. The probe was applied to the determination of H2O2 in milk and toothpaste and to cell imaging.

Graphical abstract

Schematic diagram of the FRET-based fluorescent probe and enhanced performance of hydrogen peroxide detection via Fenton reaction. The fluorescence intensity of CQD-AuNCs nanoaster was decreased as introducing H2O2 to the probe, and can be applied to the determination of milk and toothpaste and cells imaging.


Dual-emission fluorescent probe Fenton reaction Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2Cellular imaging Fluorescence resonance energy transfer Ratiometric probe 



We thank financially support from Shanghai Science and Technology Committee (17070503000), Shanghai Engineering Research Center of Green Energy Chemical Engineering, International Joint Laboratory on Resource Chemistry (IJLRC), Program for Changjiang Scholars and Innovative Research Team in University (IRT_16R49).

Author contributions

The manuscript was written through contributions of all authors. All authors have given approval to the final version of the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

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

Supplementary material

604_2019_3398_MOESM1_ESM.docm (2.6 mb)
ESM 1 (DOCM 2628 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Qi Zhao
    • 1
  • Chaohui Zhou
    • 1
  • Qingye Yang
    • 1
  • Zhongyun Chu
    • 1
  • Nengqin Jia
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.The Education Ministry Key Laboratory of Resource Chemistry, Shanghai Key Laboratory of Rare Earth Functional Materials, and Shanghai Municipal Education Committee Key Laboratory of Molecular Imaging Probes and Sensors, College of Chemistry and Materials ScienceShanghai Normal UniversityShanghaiChina

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