Two-photon-excited near-infrared emissive carbon dots as multifunctional agents for fluorescence imaging and photothermal therapy

Minhuan Lan, Shaojing Zhao, Zhenyu Zhang, Li Yan, Liang Guo, Guangle Niu, Jinfeng Zhang, Junfang Zhao, Hongyan Zhang, Pengfei Wang, Guangyu Zhu, Chun Sing Lee, Wenjun Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

250 Citations (Scopus)


C dots (CDs) have shown great potential in bioimaging and phototherapy. However, it is challenging to manipulate their fluorescent properties and therapeutic efficacy to satisfy the requirements for clinic applications. In this study, we prepared S, Se-codoped CDs via a hydrothermal method and demonstrated that the doping resulted in excitation wavelength-independent near-infrared (NIR) emissions of the CDs, with peaks at 731 and 820 nm. Significantly, the CDs exhibited a photothermal conversion efficiency of ~58.2%, which is the highest reported value for C nanostructures and is comparable to that of Au nanostructures. Moreover, the CDs had a large two-photon absorption cross section (~30,045 GM), which allowed NIR emissions and the photothermal conversion of the CDs through the two-photon excitation (TPE) mechanism. In vitro and in vivo tests suggested that CDs can function as new multifunctional phototheranostic agents for the TPE fluorescence imaging and photothermal therapy of cancer cells. 

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3113-3123
Number of pages11
JournalNano Research
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • carbon dots
  • NIR emission
  • phototheranostic agent
  • photothermal conversion
  • two-photon excitation

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