Rhodamine-Functionalized Graphene Quantum Dots for Detection of Fe3+ in Cancer Stem Cells

Ruihua Guo, Shixin Zhou, Yunchao Li, Xiaohong Li, Louzhen Fan, Nicolas H. Voelcker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

112 Citations (Scopus)


A turn-on orange-red fluorescent nanosensor based on rhodamine B derivative-functionalized graphene quantum dots (RBD-GQDs) has been successfully synthesized for Fe3+ detection with high sensitivity and selectivity. By connecting with GQDs, the water solubility, sensitivity, photostability, and biocompatibility of RBD are drastically improved. The most distinctive feature of the RBD-GQDs, which sets them apart from other previously reported fluorophores or GQDs, is that they with the detection limits as low as 0.02 μM are demonstrated as a Fe3+ turn-on fluorescent nanosensor in cancer stem cells. Fe3+ binding to such GQDs (RBD-GQDs-Fe3+) with orange-red fluorescence of 43% quantum yield were demonstrated to be the biomarkers for cancer stem cell imaging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23958-23966
Number of pages9
JournalACS Applied Materials & Interfaces
Issue number43
Publication statusPublished - 4 Nov 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • cancer stem cells
  • detection
  • Fe3+
  • graphene quantum dots
  • rhodamine B derivative

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