Simple Synthesis of Ti3C2 MXene Quantum Dots – AZoNano

According to a recent study published in the journal Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical, a group of researchers has successfully developed Ti3C2 MXene quantum dots (Ti3C2 MQDs) treated with nitrogen and phosphorus using a simple approach.

Study: Microwave-assisted synthesis of nitrogen, phosphorus-doped Ti3C2 MXene quantum dots for colorimetric/fluorometric dual-modal nitrite assay with a portable smartphone platform. Image Credit: mitchFOTO/

Excitation-dependent luminescence, anti-photobleaching, and good dispersibility were observed in the synthesized N and P-Ti3C2 MQDs, which can provide a basis for the MQDs’ widespread use in food analysis.

Harmful Effects of Nitrite (NO2)

Nitrite (NO2) is an important chemical used in the food business as an antioxidant and fertilizer. However, elevated NO2 concentrations have been shown to pose a major hazard to public health.

Severe human disorders such as cancer, spasms, and neurological disease have been linked to NO2 intake.

Cancer-causing N-nitrosamine chemicals may be formed in vivo from NO2 ingested during physiochemical functions. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has declared NO2 as a class 2A toxin. As a result, developing novel approaches for NO2 detection merits serious interest and inquiry.

Detection of NO2 using fluorometric and colorimetric strategies

Numerous traditional techniques have been used to detect trace NO2, including electrophoresis, heterogeneous catalysis, and phosphorescence. However, the majority of published solutions are time-intensive, hard to operate, expensive, and impractical for real-world applications.

Fluorescence detection and spectrophotometry methodologies are highlighted as the most promising techniques for developing transportable detectors for NO2 inspection due to their low cost, quick reaction, and simplicity of handling.

With the advancement of fluorescent materials, numerous biosensors for the identification of NO2 have been developed, including carbon quantum dots, composite nanoparticles, and metal nanoclusters.

During the same period, there has been a significant advancement in the use of spectrophotometric NO2 detection in recent times. In the statistical analysis, the mobility and usability of cell phones have made a significant contribution.

A few dual-model (fluorescent and colorimetric) examinations have been investigated with the help of a smartphone, which can convert color features into data information that will enable the correct attribute set of NO2-, to increase the accuracy and sensitivity.

Therefore, the potential to develop a NO2 dual-modal sensing platform utilizing a smartphone to detect the presence of NO2– is of interest. 

Significance and Limitations of Ti3C2 MQDs

Carving MXene into Ti3C2 MQDs may result in an enhanced dissolution rate, greater conductance, simpler customization, and a distinct luminosity.

As a result, Ti3C2 MQDs are especially promising for optoelectronic devices, pharmacological applications, cancer treatment, biomedicine, and cell imaging. However, Ti3C2 MQDs development is still in its early stages, and their most intriguing optical features are somewhat less than predicted.

The majority of known Ti3C2 MQDs emit heavily at longer wavelengths, limiting their use in a variety of sectors. Furthermore, most papers on Ti3C2 MQDs production include the difficult and time-consuming debonding of layered MXene using hydrothermal techniques.

As a result, the easy synthesis of Ti3C2 MQDs with robust fluorescence at a longer wavelength is critical for a wider range of applications.

A Novel Method for Production of Ti3C2 MQDs

The researchers employed a thermal-assisted Ti3C2 MQDs synthesis technique for the very first time in this investigation.

As opposed to the hydrothermal approach, this technique was determined to be more comfortable, economical, and quick. Microwave-assisted treatment with phosphoric acid in formamide solvent yielded nitrogen-and phosphorus-doped Ti3C2 MQDs.

Conclusion and Prospects

In this study, researchers used microwave-assisted techniques to manufacture intense fluorescent N and P-Ti3C2 MQDs, using formamide as both a carrier and a doping agent concurrently.

The synthesized N, P-Ti3C2 MQDs showed excellent dispersibility and were paired with Phen-Fe2+ to provide dual-modal sensing.

In terms of high precision, dependability, and sensitivity, the colorimetric and fluorometric dual-channel approaches outperform conventional methods. With the aid of online image processing, the aforesaid probes dependent on paper strips were successfully constructed for on-site and simple manufacture of visualization detection.

As a result of the proposed work, which not only evolves a supersensitive diagnostic test for NO2  but is also currently ongoing to restrict the optical characteristics of Ti3C2 MQDs as well as other MXene-derived MQDs, it is anticipated that the expansion of MQDs-based photoluminescence biomaterials will continue to progress.

Continue reading: The Role of Colloidal Nanomaterials in Optoelectronics.


Bai, Y. et al. (2022). Microwave-assisted synthesis of nitrogen, phosphorus-doped Ti3C2 MXene quantum dots for colorimetric/fluorometric dual-modal nitrite assay with a portable smartphone platform. Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical. Available at:

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