Applied Nanoscience

, Volume 8, Issue 5, pp 1189–1196 | Cite as

Facile synthesis of carbon dots with superior sensing ability

  • Lin Jin
  • Jingguo Li
  • Liyun Liu
  • Zhenling Wang
  • Xingcai Zhang
Original Article


Carbon dots (CDs) have various applications in biomedical and environmental field, such as bio-imaging, bio-sensing and heavy metal detection. In this study, a novel class of CDs were synthesized using a one-step hydrothermal method. The fabricated CDs displayed stable photoluminescence, good water solubility, and photo stability. Moreover, the functional groups (carboxylic acid moieties and hydroxyls) on the surface of the obtained CDs enable it with superior sensing ability (e.g., very low detectable concentration for Pb2+: 5 nmol/L). With superior detection sensitivity, excellent fluorescent properties and facile fabrication method, the as-obtained CDs can find practical applications as cost-effective and sensitive chemo-sensors in water and food safety field.


Carbon dots Hydrothermal method Photoluminescence Detection Pb 



The National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant nos: 51572303 and 21504082) supports this work. X. Zhang acknowledges the guidance from Prof. Mildred Dresselhaus. L. Jin acknowledges the program of Innovative Talent (in Science and Technology) in University of Henan Province (17HASTIT007).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no competing financial interest.

Supplementary material

13204_2018_755_MOESM1_ESM.doc (110 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 110 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Henan Provincial People’s Hospital, Zhengzhou University People’s HospitalZhengzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Luoyang Orthopedic Hospital of Henan Province, Orthopedic Hospital of Henan ProvinceZhengzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Key Laboratory of Polymeric Composite and Functional Materials of Ministry of EducationSun Yat-sen UniversityGuangzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  4. 4.School of EngineeringMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA
  5. 5.John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied SciencesHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA

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