Nanotheranostics 2022; 6(2):205-214. doi:10.7150/ntno.67070 This issue

Research Paper

Graphene Quantum Dots prepared by Electron Beam Irradiation for Safe Fluorescence Imaging of Tumor

Honghong Cao1,2,3,4, Wei Qi5, Xudong Gao6, Qiang Wu1✉, Longlong Tian2,3✉, Wangsuo Wu2,3

1. Lanzhou University Second Hospital, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou, 730000, China.
2. Institute of National Nuclear Industry, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou, 730000, China.
3. Frontiers Science Center for Rare Isotopes, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou, 730000, China.
4. Lanzhou Resources & Environment Voc-Tech University, Lanzhou, 730000, China.
5. Hubei Key Laboratory of Bioinorganic Chemistry & Materia Medica, School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, 430000, China.
6. CAS Key Laboratory of Chemistry of Northwestern Plant Resources, Institute of Chemical Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Lanzhou, 730000, China.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( See for full terms and conditions.
Cao H, Qi W, Gao X, Wu Q, Tian L, Wu W. Graphene Quantum Dots prepared by Electron Beam Irradiation for Safe Fluorescence Imaging of Tumor. Nanotheranostics 2022; 6(2):205-214. doi:10.7150/ntno.67070. Available from

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Graphic abstract

Graphene quantum dots (GQD) have attracted much attention due to their unique properties in biomedical application, such as biosensing, imaging, and drug delivering. However, scale preparing red luminescing GQD is still challenging now. Herein, with the help of electron beam irradiation, a simple, rapid, and efficient up-to-down strategy was developed to synthesize GQD with size of 2.75 nm emitting 610 nm luminescence. GQD were further functionalized with polyethylene glycol (PEG) and exhibited good solubility and biocompatibility. The potential in vivo toxicity of PEGylated GQD could completely be eliminated by the clinic cholesterol-lowering drug simvastatin. PEGylated GQD could selectively accumulate in tumor after intravenous injection as a security, reliable and sensitive tumor fluorescence imaging agent. Therefore, this work presented a new method preparing red luminescing GQD for biomedical application.

Keywords: Graphene quantum dots, Red luminescence, Electron beam irradiation, Tumor imaging