Jul 14, 2014
Bagasse-derived fluorescent carbon dots for bio-imaging
Carbon quantum dots (CDs) are the new stars of carbon nanomaterials. This is thanks to their numerous potential applications in biomedical imaging, photocatalysis, sensing and optoelectronic devices. Despite numerous achievements in this area, finding alternative, simple and low-cost routes to these materials is still a challenge. Reporting in Nanotechnology, researchers use the renewable waste of bagasse as a precursor for the preparation of fluorescent CDs.
Carbon nanomaterials, which include carbon nanotubes, fullerenes and graphene, have generated much excitement for a wide variety of promising applications. As one of these, CDs are no different. Compared with more traditional metal-based semiconductor quantum dots, they have superior fluorescence properties with stable photoluminescence, good water stability and favourable biocompatibility. The exploration of alternative synthetic routes that broaden the application of these materials is therefore an interesting challenge.
As a typical biomass material, bagasse is a by-product of the cane-sugar industry and is composed of amine-group enriched molecules and carbohydrates. In this study, a more sustainable, inexpensive and greener synthesis approach to produce fluorescent CDs by the hydrothermal treatment of bagasse is presented for the first time. The carbonization, surface functionalization and doping occur simultaneously during the hydrothermal treatment, which leads to the formation of the nitrogen-doped CDs. Most importantly, the researchers further demonstrate the proof of concept that such CDs can function as highly effective fluorescent sensing probes for the labelling and imaging of living cells in biomedical applications.
The researchers presented their work in the journal Nanotechnology 25 315702.
Graphene QDs on aligned carbon nanotubes ramp up supercapacitor performance (Jun 2013)
The art of colloidal quantum dots: micropatterning (Mar 2014)
Carbon nanotubes grown on graphene quantum dot assembly (July 2012)
About the author
Fengyi Du is a lecturer at the school of medicine, Jiangsu University in China. The research seeks to develop novel biomaterials and nanotechnology-based therapeutics for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Specifically, they focus on these fields: biomedical imaging, exploring the preparation of novel nanoparticle-based contrast agents, and their application in CT, MRI and PET biomedical imaging for diagnosis and treatments.