We report fluorescent carbon nanoparticle decorated with 4-methylimidazole (4-MEI) prepared by a one-step hydrothermal synthesis. Upon binding to toxic heavy metals including Hg2+ and Cd2+, the fluorescence emission displayed notable enhancement. This is in contrast with the majority of other one-step synthesized fluorescent carbon nanoparticle sensing systems which exhibit quenching, due to the non-radiative energy transfer. In comparison, the decorated 4-MEI on the carbon nanoparticles prevents the non-radiative energy transfer when the analytes bind to the 4-MEI. Further results on the fluorescence responses on the removal of the surface decorated 4-MEI and re-coordination of a reference 4-MEI against the same metal ions suggested that the 4-MEI on the carbon nanoparticles’ surface plays a key role in the observed fluorescence enhancement. These features indicate an immense potential for further development of CNP based fluorescence enhancement sensing platforms for effective detection of analytes of interests.
Supplementary Information for One-step hydrothermal synthesis of 4-Metylimidazole Decorated Carbon Nanoparticles and Their Fluorescence Enhancement Sensing of Heavy Metal Ions
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