Luminescent graphene quantum dots: As emerging fluorescent materials for biological application

Jilong Wang, Jingjing Qiu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Luminescent graphene quantum dots (GQDs) have inspired tremendous research interests due to their tunable optical properties derived from quantum confinement and edge effects, as well as their high biocompatibility and unique electronic property. In this review, recent advances in the synthesis and purification of GQDs are summarized, focusing on two main routes (top-down and bottom-up). Their distinct light emission properties derived from different fabrication approaches are also addressed. Due to their low cytotoxicity and tunable optical behaviors, GQDs have been widely studied for their potential biomedical applications, such as disease diagnosis and therapy, antimicrobial agents, analytical sensors, and bio-imaging devices. These potential applications will be significantly enhanced by (1) heteroatom doping and surface chemistry of GQDs for desirable optical behaviors and (2) a better understanding of the interaction/activity between GQDs and biological systems at the cellular level and gene level. This article presents a state-of-the-art overview of the emerging biomedical applications of GQDs and discusses their challenges and perspectives in the near future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1979-1989
Number of pages11
JournalScience of Advanced Materials
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2015


  • Bioimaging
  • Biosensor
  • Cytotoxicity
  • Drug delivery
  • Graphene quantum dots
  • Quantum yield


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