N-doping carbon dots (N-CDs) were prepared by microwave-assisted pyrolysis of dl-malic acid and ethanolamine as precursors. The material served as an excellent matrix for the detection of the environmental pollutants hydroxy-polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (OH-PAHs) by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) in negative ion mode. The obtained N-CDs exhibited good UV absorption capacity and favorable solubility. The use of the N-CDs matrix exhibited low matrix background interference and was beneficial to improve the signal response due to the specific π-conjugated polyaromatic structure and the doping of nitrogen atoms. The developed method was found to have good reproducibility and sensitivity. The N-CDs as a new matrix also were employed for the detection of OH-PAHs in real PM2.5 samples. The mass concentrations of -hydroxy-pyrene, -dihydroxy-anthraquinone, and -dihydroxy-benzo(a)pyrene on the collected PM2.5 samples ranged from 0.125 to 0.136 ng/m3, 0.039 to 0.052 ng/m3, and 0.053 to 0.072 ng/m3, respectively. This work extends the application field of N-CDs and provides a good candidate of matrix for MALDI-TOF MS detection of environmental pollutants.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Materials Science(all)
- carbon dots
- hydroxy-polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
- MALDI-TOF MS