Mercaptopropionic acid capped CdSe/ZnS quantum dots as fluorescence probe for lead(II)

  • Weiling Luan
  • Hongwei Yang
  • Zhen Wan
  • Binxia Yuan
  • Xinhai Yu
  • Shan-tung Tu
Research Paper


MPA stabilized CdSe/ZnS NCs was applied as a fluorescent probe for the sensitive detection of Pb2+ in water. The microreaction was demonstrated as a facile method for the reproducible synthesis of CdSe/ZnS NCs with a high quantum yield. The good stability of CdSe/ZnS NCs was proved by the significant maintaining of photoluminescent (PL) after the ligand exchange with MPA, and was further demonstrated by the excellent PL property in water solution with various pH values. The cation exchange of Zn with Pb led to the linear quenching of PL with the concentration of Pb2+, which provided as an opportunity to apply MPA stabilized CdSe/ZnS NCs as fluorescent probes for Pb2+. A facile method by adjustment of QDs concentration was demonstrated as a suitable way to approach different detection limits. The detection limits of 0.03 and 3.3 μM were achieved by setting QDs solutions with the absorbance of the first exciton peak as 0.05 and 0.15, respectively.


Quantum dots Fluorescent probe Lead detection CdSe/ZnS Sensor Environment 



Authors appreciated the financial supports from the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (WJ0913001), the Focus of Scientific and Technological Research Projects (109063), the State Key Laboratory of Chemical Engineering at ECUST (SKL-ChE-08C09), and National Nature Science Foundation of China (51172072).


  1. Ali EM, Zheng YG, Yu HH, Ying JY (2007) Ultrasensitive Pb2+ detection by glutathione-capped quantum dots. Anal Chem 79:9452–9458CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alizadeh A, Khodaei MM, Karami C, Workentin MS, Shamsipur M, Sadeghi M (2010) Rapid and selective lead(II) colorimetric sensor based on azacrown ether-functionalized gold nanoparticles. Nanotechnology 21:315503CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Chen CT, Huang WP (2002) A highly selective fluorescent chemosensor for lead ions. J Am Chem Soc 124:6246–6247CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chen P, Greenberg B, Taghavi S, Romano C, VanderLelie D, He CA (2005) An exceptionally selective lead(II)-regulatory protein from Ralstonia metallidurans: development of a fluorescent lead(II) probe. Angew Chem Int Ed 44:2715–2719CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Dabbousi BO, RodriguezViejo J, Mikulec FV, Heine JR, Mattoussi H, Ober R, Jensen KF, Bawendi MG (1997) CdSe(ZnS) core-shell quantum dots: synthesis and characterization of a size series of highly luminescent nanocrystallites. J Phys Chem B 101:9463–9475CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Dong CQ, Huang XY, Ren JC (2008) Characterization of water-soluble luminescent quantum dots by fluorescence correlation spectroscopy. Ann N Y Acad Sci 1130:253–261CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Flegal AR, Smith DR (1995) Measurements of environmental lead contamination and human exposure. Rev Environ Contam Toxicol 143:1–45CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Gerion D, Pinaud F, Williams SC, Parak WJ, Zanchet D, Weiss S, Alivisatos AP (2001) Synthesis and properties of biocompatible water-soluble silica-coated CdSe/ZnS semiconductor quantum dots. J. Phys. Chem. B 105:8861–8871CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Klimov VI, Mikhailovsky AA, McBranch DW, Leatherdale CA, Bawendi MG (2000) Mechanisms for intraband energy relaxation in semiconductor quantum dots: the role of electron-hole interactions. Phys Rev B 61:R13349–R13352CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Kwon JY, Jang YJ, Lee YJ, Kim KM, Seo MS, Nam W, Yoon J (2005) A highly selective fluorescent chemosensor for Pb2+. J Am Chem Soc 127:10107–10111CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Landrigan PJ, Todd AC (1994) Lead poisoning. West J Med 161:153–159Google Scholar
  12. Liu J, Lu Y (2003) A colorimetric lead biosensor using DNAzyme-directed assembly of gold nanoparticles. J Am Chem Soc 125:6642–6643CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Luan WL, Yang HW, Fan NN, Tu ST (2008) Synthesis of efficiently green luminescent CdSe/ZnS nanocrystals via microfluidic reaction. Nano Res Lett 3:134–139CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Matoussi H, Mauro JM, Goldman ER, Anderson GP, Sundar VC, Mikulec FV, Bawendi MG (2000) Self-assembly of CdSe-ZnS quantum dot bioconjugates using an engineered recombinant protein. J Am Chem Soc 122:12142–12150CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Murray CB, Norris DJ, Bawendi MG (1993) Synthesis and characterization of nearly monodisperse CdE (E = sulfur, selenium, tellurium) semiconductor nanocrystallites. J Am Chem Soc 115:8706–8715CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Neil DC, Jeremy MB (1998) Zinc fingers in Caenorhabditis elegans: finding families and probing pathways. Science 281:2018–2022Google Scholar
  17. Pellegrino T, Kudera S, Liedl T, Javier AM, Manna L, Parak WJ (2005) On the development of colloidal nanoparticles towards multifunctional structures and their possible use for biological applications. Small 1:48–63CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ren J, Chen HL, Ren CL, Liu Q, Wang M, Chen XG (2010) l-cysteine capped CdSe as sensitive sensor for detection of trace lead ion in aqueous solution. Mater Res Innov 14:133–137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Son DH, Hughes SM, Yin YD, Alivisatos AP (2004) Cation exchange reactions in ionic nanocrystals. Science 306:1009–1012CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Tu ST, Yu XH, Luan WL, Loewe H (2010) Development of micro chemical, biological and thermal systems in China: a review. Chem Eng J 163:165–179CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Wuister SF, Swart I, Driel VF (2003) Highly luminescent water-soluble CdTe quantum dots. Nano Lett 3:503–507CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Yang H, Luan WL, Tu ST, Wang ZM (2008) Synthesis of nanocrystals via microreaction with temperature gradient: towards separation of nucleation and growth. Lab Chip 8:451–455CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Yang H, Luan W, Wan Z, Tu ST, Yuan WK, Wang ZM (2009a) Continuous synthesis of full-color emitting core/shell quantum dots via microreaction. Cryst Growth Des 9:4807–4813CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Yang H, Fan NN, Luan WL, Tu ST (2009b) Synthesis of monodisperse nanocrystals via microreaction: open-to-air synthesis with oleylamine as a coligand. Nano Res Lett 4:344–352CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Young AG, Green DP, McQuillan AJ (2006) Infrared spectroscopic studies of monothiol ligand adsorption on CdS nanocrystal films in aqueous solutions. Langmuir 22:11106–11112CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Zhu YF, Fan DH, Shen WZ (2008) Chemical conversion synthesis and optical properties of metal sulfide hollow microspheres. Langmuir 24:11131–11136CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Weiling Luan
    • 1
  • Hongwei Yang
    • 1
  • Zhen Wan
    • 1
  • Binxia Yuan
    • 1
  • Xinhai Yu
    • 1
  • Shan-tung Tu
    • 1
  1. 1.The State Key Laboratory of Safety Science of Pressurized System (MOE), School of Mechanical and Power EngineeringEast China University of Science and TechnologyShanghaiPeople’s Republic of China

Personalised recommendations