Optimizing the synthesis of red-emissive nitrogen-doped carbon dots for use in bioimaging

Bedia Begüm Karakoçak, Jue Liang, Shalinee Kavadiya, Mikhail Y. Berezin, Pratim Biswas, Nathan Ravi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations

Abstract

Synthesizing highly efficient red-emissive carbon dots (CDs) is a challenge that still impedes widespread applications of CDs in bioimaging. Herein, we demonstrate a facile, isolation-free synthesis of deep red (600-700 nm) emissive nitrogen-doped CDs (nCDs) based on microwave-assisted pyrolysis of citric acid and ethylenediamine. The duration of pyrolysis, the molar ratio of acid to amine, and the concentration of reactants were optimized using Central Composite Design and Response Surface Methodology to yield deep red fluorescence. We demonstrated their applicability on three different cell lines (retinal epithelial, lens epithelial, and Chinese hamster ovary cells). We measured the viability, the generation of reactive oxygen species, and percentage of apoptotic cells to determine their level of toxicity in cell culture. Confocal images showed that the nCDs fluoresced at different wavelengths depending upon the excitation wavelength and were excitable up to 635 nm. Furthermore, the ex vivo imaging of porcine ocular globes and post-mortem imaging of a whole mouse exemplified the utility of nCDs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3682-3692
Number of pages11
JournalACS Applied Nano Materials
Volume1
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 27 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Bioimaging
  • Carbon dots
  • Design of experiments
  • Ocular
  • Optimization
  • Red-emissive

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)

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