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3D-printed smartphone-based device for fluorimetric diagnosis of ketosis by acetone-responsive dye marker and red emissive carbon dots


A portable smartphone device is reported that uses 3D printing technology for the primary diagnosis of diseases by detecting acetone. The key part of the device consists of red carbon dots (RCDs), which are used as internal standards, and a sensing reagent (3-N,N-(diacethydrazide)-9-ethylcarbazole (2-HCA)) for acetone. With an excitation wavelength of 360 nm, the emission wavelengths of 2-HCA and RCDs are 443 nm and 619 nm, respectively. 2-HCA effectively captures acetone to form a nonfluorescent acylhydrazone via a condensation reaction occurring in aqueous solution, resulting in obvious color changes from blue-violet to dark red. The detection limit for acetone is 2.62 μM (~ 0.24 ppm). This is far lower than the ketone content in normal human blood (≤ 0.50 mM) and the acetone content in human respiratory gas (≤ 1.80 ppm). The device has good recovery rates for acetone detection in blood and exhaled breath, which are 90.56–109.98% (RSD ≤ 5.48) and 92.80–108.00% (RSD ≤ 5.07), respectively. The method designed here provides a reliable way to provide health warnings by visually detecting markers of ketosis/diabetes in blood or exhaled breath.

Graphical abstract

The portable smart phone device visually detects ketosis/diabetes markers in the blood or exhaled breath through the nucleophilic addition reaction, which effectively captures acetone to form nonfluorescent acyl groups. This will be a reliable tool to warn human health.

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This work is financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (21671052, 21806168), Key Research and Development Program of Anhui Province (202004d07020013, 1804a07020103), Natural Science Foundation of Anhui Province (2008085QB69), and Scientific Research Foundation for High-Level Talents of West Anhui University (WGKQ2021001). The numerical calculations in this paper were performed on the Scientific Research Cloud Platform in the School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Liaocheng University.

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ΙΙYang F. and Yang L.L. contributed equally to this paper. The manuscript was written with contributions from all authors. All authors have given approval to the final version of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Liang Yang or Changlong Jiang.

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Yang, F., Yang, L., Xu, L. et al. 3D-printed smartphone-based device for fluorimetric diagnosis of ketosis by acetone-responsive dye marker and red emissive carbon dots. Microchim Acta 188, 306 (2021).

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  • Smartphone-based device
  • Real-time monitoring
  • Ratiometric fluorescence
  • Subhealth recognition
  • Acetone detection
  • Health warning