Metal Ion Sensing with Phenylenediamine Quantum Dots in Blood Serum

Landysh I. Fatkhutdinova, Hani Barhum, Elena N. Gerasimova, Mohammed Attrash, Denis S. Kolchanov, Ivan I. Vazhenin, Alexander S. Timin, Pavel Ginzburg, Mikhail V. Zyuzin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Among numerous optical sensing techniques, lifetime analysis of fluorescent agents has several advantages, including high responsivity to local environmental changes and reduced susceptibility to random light-scattering events during through-tissue imaging. Monitoring ion concentrations in blood vessels is among the applications for which fluorescent approaches can be particularly beneficial. However, without additional biochemical conjugation approaches, fluorescent agents lack specificity; namely, they are either weakly sensitive to salt concentrations or provide a strong nonspecific response. Here we demonstrate the efficacy of phenylenediamine carbon dots exhibiting a strong fluorescence lifetime response to the common microelements in blood such as Fe2+, Fe3+, and Co2+ ions while remaining insusceptible to Na2+, Ca2+, Mn2+, Mg2+, Zn2+, and Ni2+ ions. The paper also discusses the physical mechanisms underlying the observed selective sensitivity of the obtained CDs. Sensing performances of the carbon dots were also demonstrated with model cells on pathways to in vivo applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23130-23141
Number of pages12
JournalACS Applied Nano Materials
Issue number24
StatePublished - 22 Dec 2023


FundersFunder number
Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation075-15-2021-592
Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation
Russian Science Foundation21-72-30018
Russian Science Foundation


    • blood microelements
    • carbon dots
    • metal ion detection
    • quenching mechanism
    • sensors


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