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Highly selective detection of p-nitrophenol using fluorescence assay based on boron, nitrogen co-doped carbon dots

Xiao, Na, Liu, Shi Gang, Mo, Shi, Li, Na, Ju, Yan Jun, Ling, Yu, Li, Nian Bing, Luo, Hong Qun
Talanta 2018 v.184 pp. 184-192
Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, boron, carbon quantum dots, chemical bonding, fluorescence, fluorescence emission spectroscopy, fluorescent dyes, hot water treatment, nitrogen, p-nitrophenol, spectral analysis, transmission electron microscopy, ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy
p-Nitrophenol (p-NP) contaminants seriously endanger environmental and living beings health, hence to establish a sensitive and selective method is of great importance for the determination of p-NP. In this work, boron and nitrogen co-doped carbon dots (B,N-CDs) were synthesized by one-step hydrothermal method using 3-aminophenylboronic acid as the sole precursor. The product was characterized through high-resolution transmission electron microscopy, fluorescence spectroscopy, UV–visible absorption spectroscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. Without any functionalized modification, B,N-CDs can be directly applied as a ‘turn-off’ fluorescent probe for rapid, highly selective, and sensitive detection of p-NP. The fluorescent sensor based on the B,N-CDs exhibited a broad linear response to the concentration of p-NP in the range of 0.5 − 60 μM and 60 − 200 μM, respectively, and provided a detection limit of 0.2 μM. It was found that only the absorption spectrum of p-NP has a wide overlap with the fluorescence excitation and emission spectra of B,N-CDs compared to those of other representative analogues. The response mechanism was due to the inner filter effect and the formation of dynamic covalent B-O bonds between B,N-CDs and p-NP, which endowed the sensing platform with the rapid response and high selectivity to p-NP. Finally, the sensor showed the practicability of p-NP determination in environmental water samples.