Fluorescent N/Al Co-Doped Carbon Dots from Cellulose Biomass for Sensitive Detection of Manganese (VII)

  • Supuli Jayaweera
  • Ke Yin
  • Xiao Hu
  • Wun Jern NgEmail author


Development of metallic and nonmetallic heteroatom doped carbon dots have gained attention due to their enhanced physicochemical and photoluminescence properties. In this study, a facile one pot hydrothermal carbonisation approach was taken to synthesise nitrogen, aluminum co-doped carbon dots (N/Al-CDs) with a photoluminescence quantum yield of 28.7%. Durian shell, a cellulose biomass waste, was used as the primary carbon source and compared to previously reported cellulose based carbon dots, this study presents one of the highest quantum yields. The structural and fluorescent properties of the synthesised N/Al-CDs were characterized through X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), fluorescence spectra, and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). The maximum emission was at 415 nm upon excitation at 345 nm. The synthesised N/Al-CDs were resistant to photobleaching and highly photostable within the pH, ionic strength and temperature variations investigated. The transmission electron microscopy (TEM) images showed particles were quasi-spherical and well dispersed with an average diameter of 10.0 nm. Further, the N/Al-CDs was developed as a fluorescence sensor for highly selective and sensitive detection of Mn (VII) ions. A linear relationship was developed over a concentration range of 0–100 μM while the limit of detection was 46.8 nM. Application of the sensor for detection of Manganese (VII) to two real water samples showed relative standard deviation was less than 3.9% and 1.3%, respectively.


Carbon dots Durian shell waste Nitrogen aluminum doping Fluorescence Mn7+ detection 



The authors would like to thank the Interdisciplinary Graduate School of Nanyang Technological University and Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute for the financial and technical support extended to this study. We would like to acknowledge Dr. Pan Chaozhi from Environmental Bio-innovations Group for the insights that improved the manuscript quality and finally the Facility for Analysis, Characterization, Testing and Simulation, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, for use of their transmission electron microscopy facilities.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Competing Interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Supuli Jayaweera
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ke Yin
    • 3
  • Xiao Hu
    • 4
    • 5
  • Wun Jern Ng
    • 6
    Email author
  1. 1.Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute, Interdisciplinary Graduate SchoolNanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.Residues & Resource Reclamation Centre, Nanyang Environment & Water Research InstituteNanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore
  3. 3.Department of Environmental Engineering, School of Biology and the EnvironmentNanjing Forestry UniversityNanjingChina
  4. 4.School of Materials Science and EngineeringNanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore
  5. 5.Environmental Chemistry and Materials Centre, Nanyang Environment & Water Research InstituteNanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore
  6. 6.Environmental Bio-innovations Group (EBiG), School of Civil and Environmental EngineeringNanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore

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