Photoluminescent Hybrids of Cellulose Nanocrystals and Carbon Quantum Dots as Cytocompatible Probes for in Vitro Bioimaging

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Research units

  • University of Helsinki
  • University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna
  • North Carolina State University
  • Auburn University


We present an approach to construct biocompatible and photoluminescent hybrid materials comprised of carbon quantum dots (CQDs) and TEMPO-oxidized cellulose nanocrystals (TO-CNCs). First, the amino-functionalized carbon quantum dots (NH2-CQDs) were synthesized using a simple microwave method, and the TO-CNCs were prepared by hydrochloric acid (HCl) hydrolysis followed by TEMPO-mediated oxidation. The conjugation of NH2-CQDs and TO-CNCs was conducted via carbodiimide-assisted coupling chemistry. The synthesized TO-CNC@CQD hybrid nanomaterials were characterized using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, cryo-transmittance electron microscopy, confocal microscopy, and fluorescence spectroscopy. Finally, the interactions of TO-CNC@CQD hybrids with HeLa and RAW 264.7 macrophage cells were investigated in vitro. Cell viability tests suggest the surface conjugation with NH2-CQDs not only improved the cytocompatibility of TO-CNCs, but also enhanced their cellular association and internalization on both HeLa and RAW 264.7 cells after 4 and 24 h incubation.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2045-2055
Number of pages11
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jul 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

ID: 14386704