Malic Acid Carbon Dots: From Super-resolution Live-Cell Imaging to Highly Efficient Separation

Bo Zhi, Yi Cui, Shengyang Wang, Benjamin P. Frank, Denise N. Williams, Richard P. Brown, Eric S. Melby, Robert J. Hamers, Zeev Rosenzweig, D. Howard Fairbrother, Galya Orr, Christy L. Haynes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations

Abstract

As-synthesized malic acid carbon dots are found to possess photoblinking properties that are outstanding and superior compared to those of conventional dyes. Considering their excellent biocompatibility, malic acid carbon dots are suitable for super-resolution fluorescence localization microscopy under a variety of conditions, as we demonstrate in fixed and live trout gill epithelial cells. In addition, during imaging experiments, the so-called "excitation wavelength-dependent" emission was not observed for individual as-made malic acid carbon dots, which motivated us to develop a time-saving and high-throughput separation technique to isolate malic acid carbon dots into fractions of different particle size distributions using C18 reversed-phase silica gel column chromatography. This post-treatment allowed us to determine how particle size distribution influences the optical properties of malic acid carbon dot fractions, that is, optical band gap energies and photoluminescence behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5741-5752
Number of pages12
JournalACS nano
Volume12
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 26 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Science Foundation Center for Chemical Innovation Program Grant No. CHE-1503408 under the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology. We thank Dr. Christopher J. Douglas (University of Minnesota) for carbon dot separation supplies and equipment. Part of this work, including super-resolution cell imaging and fluorescence characterization of single dots, was performed using the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, a national scientific user facility sponsored by the Department of Energy’s Office of Biological and Environmental Research and located at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Parts of this work, including XPS and TEM characterization, were carried out in the Characterization Facility, University of Minnesota, which receives partial support from the MRSEC program (DMR-1420013).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 American Chemical Society.

Keywords

  • carbon dots
  • column chromatography
  • optical band gap energy
  • photoblinking
  • photoluminescence
  • super-resolution localization microscopy

How much support was provided by MRSEC?

  • Shared

Reporting period for MRSEC

  • Period 5

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

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