In this study, a novel and sustainable approach was used to synthesize nitrogen-doped carbon dots (NCDs) from the waste biomass of Poa Pratensis (Kentucky bluegrass (KB)) by a facile hydrothermal method. The prepared KBNCDs were subjected to various characterization techniques, including X-ray diffraction, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, transmission electron microscopy, and Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy to verify the formation of carbon dots and their surface functional groups. The KBNCDs exhibited good hydrophilic fluorescence (FLU) properties with an acceptable quantum yield (7%). The synthesized KBNCDs showed excitation wavelength-dependent FLU emission behavior with strong cyan-blue FLU upon irradiation with 365 nm UV-light. The hydrophilic optical properties of the as-synthesized KBNCDs were used to detect Fe and Mn ions in an aqueous medium with good selectivity and sensitivity. It was found that the FLU of the KBNCDs is quenched in the presence of Fe and Mn ions, and the quenching rate was linear with the concentration of Fe and Mn ions. The limit of detection (LOD) of KBNCDs with metal ions was calculated using the Stern-Volmer relationship. The LOD values for Fe or Mn ions were calculated as 1.4 and 1.2 μM, respectively with the detection range from 5.0 to 25 μM. Based on these results, this study provides an underpinning for the development of KBNCD as FLU sensors that can be used in aqueous media.
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