Probing the mechanism of the interaction between l-cysteine-capped-CdTe quantum dots and Hg2+ using capillary electrophoresis with ensemble techniques

Laifang Xu, Junjie Hao, Tao YI, Yinyin Xu, Xiaoying Niu, Cuiling Ren, Hongli Chen*, Xingguo Chen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


A good understanding of the mechanism of interaction between quantum dots (QDs) and heavy metal ions is essential for the design of more effective sensor systems. In this work, CE was introduced to explore how l-cysteine-capped-CdTe QDs (l-cys-CdTe QDs) interacts with Hg2+. The change in electrophoretic mobility can synchronously reflect the change in the composition and property of QDs. The effects of the free and capping ligands on the system are discussed in detail. ESI-MS, dynamic light scattering (DLS), zeta potential, and fluorescence (FL) were also applied as cooperative tools to study the interaction mechanism. Furthermore, the interaction mechanism, which principally depended on the concentration of Hg2+, was proposed reasonably. At the low concentration of Hg2+, the formation of a static complex between Hg2+ and the carboxyl and amino groups of l-cys-CdTe QDs surface was responsible for the FL quenching. With the increase of Hg2+ concentration, the capping l-cys was stripped from the surface of l-cys-CdTe QDs due to the high affinity of Hg2+ to the thiol group of l-cys. Our study demonstrates that CE can reveal the mechanism of the interaction between QDs and heavy metal ions, such as FL quenching.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)859-866
Number of pages8
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2015

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry

User-Defined Keywords

  • Capillary electrophoresis
  • CdTe quantum dots
  • Hg
  • Interaction mechanism


Dive into the research topics of 'Probing the mechanism of the interaction between l-cysteine-capped-CdTe quantum dots and Hg<sup>2+</sup> using capillary electrophoresis with ensemble techniques'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this