Photo-Fenton reaction of graphene oxide: A new strategy to prepare graphene quantum dots for DNA cleavage

Xuejiao Zhou, Yan Zhang, Chong Wang, Xiaochen Wu, Yongqiang Yang, Bin Zheng, Haixia Wu, Shouwu Guo, Jingyan Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

477 Scopus citations


Graphene quantum dots (GQDs) are great promising in various applications owing to the quantum confinement and edge effects in addition to their intrinsic properties of graphene, but the preparation of the GQDs in bulk scale is challenging. We demonstrated in this work that the micrometer sized graphene oxide (GO) sheets could react with Fenton reagent (Fe 2+/Fe 3+/H 2O 2) efficiently under an UV irradiation, and, as a result, the GQDs with periphery carboxylic groups could be generated with mass scale production. Through a variety of techniques including atomic force microscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, gas chromatography, ultraperformance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, and total organic carbon measurement, the mechanism of the photo-Fenton reaction of GO was elucidated. The photo-Fenton reaction of GO was initiated at the carbon atoms connected with the oxygen containing groups, and C-C bonds were broken subsequently, therefore, the reaction rate depends strongly on the oxidization extent of the GO. Given the simple and efficient nature of the photo-Fenton reaction of GO, this method should provide a new strategy to prepare GQDs in mass scale. As a proof-of-concept experiment, the novel DNA cleavage system using as-generated GQDs was constructed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6592-6599
Number of pages8
JournalACS nano
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 28 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • DNA cleavage
  • graphene quantum dot
  • photo-Fenton reaction


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