Prof. Ninglin Zhou published her work in the journal of MICROCHIMICA ACTA (2017, 184(3), 699-706)
Carbon quantum dots doped with nitrogen and phosphorus were prepared from adenosine 5'-monophosphate (AMP) in a single simple synthesis step. The nitrogen and phosphorus doped C-dots (N,P-C-dots) were characterized by transmission electron microscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, fluorescence spectroscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and X-ray powder diffraction. These carbon dots display blue fluorescence, with excitation/emission maxima at 360/430 nm, a quantum yield of 26.5% and an average decay time of 4.3 ns. Fluorescence is strongest at neutral pH values but quenched at very high and very low pH values. It is also quenched by ferric ions which suggests the use of the N,P-C-dots as fluorescent probes for Fe(III). A hemolysis test inferred favorable blood compatibility. The fluorescence of the doped C-dots is excitation wavelength dependent and also is susceptible to 2-photon excitation. The nanoparticles were applied in the fluorescent multicolor bioimaging of A549 (adenocarcinomic alveolar basal epithelial) cells under different excitation wavelengths, typically at 405, 488 and 543 nm. Emission colors ranging from blue to green and red can be adjusted in this way.