Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 54, Issue 5, pp 4297–4305 | Cite as

Si, N-codoped carbon dots: preparation and application in iron overload diagnosis

  • Songliang He
  • Suwen Qi
  • Zhencheng Sun
  • Guoshuai Zhu
  • Ke Zhang
  • Wenwen ChenEmail author
Materials for life sciences


Heteroatom doping is a straightforward and smart strategy to improve the fluorescence efficiency of carbon dots (CDs). We synthesized the Si, N-codoped CDs (SiNCDs) with high quantum yield up to 29.7% through one-step hydrothermal method. The linear range for Fe3+ was between 0 and 200 μM, and the limit of detection was about 5 μM, which presented potential for Fe quantification in serum to diagnose Fe overload. In addition, the SiNCDs demonstrated good selectivity to Fe3+ among high concentrations of metal ions, amino acids and H2O2, so there is no need to mix additional reagents as the colorimetric method does in clinic, making SiNCDs more competitive in clinical application. Furthermore, we explored the practicability of SiNCDs by detecting Fe in serum from five healthy volunteers and three patients suffering Fe overload. The recovery rate was from 87.1 to 113.6%, which confirmed the application prospect of SiNCDs in clinical diagnostics.



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81701789), Medical Research Foundation in Guangdong Province (A2016079) and Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong Province (2017A030310361).

Supplementary material

10853_2018_3150_MOESM1_ESM.docx (3.2 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 3267 kb)


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Guangdong Key Laboratory for Biomedical Measurements and Ultrasound Imaging, School of Biomedical EngineeringShenzhen University Health Science CenterShenzhenChina

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