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N-doped carbon dots with high sensitivity and selectivity for hypochlorous acid detection and its application in water

Wang, Dongmei, Xu, Hui, Zheng, Baozhan, Li, Yang, Liu, Maoping, Du, Juan, Xiao, Dan
Analytical methods 2015 v.7 no.12 pp. 5311-5317
analytical methods, biocompatibility, carbon quantum dots, detection limit, fluorescence, hydrophilicity, organic matter, oxidation, reactive oxygen species, river water, signal-to-noise ratio
Hypochlorous acid (HOCl), a biologically significant reactive oxygen species (ROS), plays a key role in living systems owing to its strong oxidation. Compared with the conventional organic molecule probes, carbon dots (CDs) detection systems have been proven to exhibit a lot of advantages including nontoxicity, biocompatibility, hydrophilicity, and no photo-bleaching. In this work, photostable nitrogen-doped carbon dots (N-doped CDs) were prepared through a rapid, low-cost and simple hydrothermal procedure. The as-prepared N-doped CDs exhibited excellent sensitivity and selectivity towards HOCl through a fluorescence quenching mechanism. This sensor had a relatively fast response time within 1 min, and a very wide linear response range for HOCl (R² = 0.994) from 0.03 to 15 μM. The limit of detection (signal-to-noise ratio of 3) was as low as 1 nM, which was much lower than that of the conventional organic probes. This method has been successfully applied to the determination of HOCl in tap and river water with recoveries in the range of 96.0–104.8% and 95.5–103.6%. Hence, the excellent performance of the proposed fluorescence sensor showed that this method possessed the potential for the detection of HOCl in environmental applications.