Altered levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine are apparent in various conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease and depression. Now, researchers in Iran report “An Electrochemical Sensor Based on Carbon Quantum Dots and Ionic Liquids for Selective Detection of Dopamine” in ChemistrySelect that they have developed a quick, sensitive, and simple test to determine dopamine levels in biological fluids. The method could help clinicians spot abnormal blood levels of dopamine in patients, potentially allowing for earlier disease detection, according to the scientists.

The technique relies on carbon quantum dots, a type of carbon nanomaterial with photoluminescence properties, and an ionic liquid, which is comprised of several mineral anions and organic cations existing in liquid form at room temperature.

“A novel electrochemical sensor based on a carbon paste electrode (CPE) modified with ionic liquid (IL) and carbon quantum dots (CQDs) for measuring DA [dopamine agonists] with uric acid and ascorbic acid was developed. IL and CQDs were synthesized and characterized for their specific properties such as composition, emission, size distribution, and morphology structure. Then, the modified CPE and different DA concentration was determined via cyclic voltammetry,” write the investigators.

“The modified electrode exhibited great electrocatalytic activity for DA oxidation. Under optimal conditions, the calibration diagram for DA was linear within the range of 0.1–50 μM in phosphate buffer (pH=7.4) and limit of detection was 0.046 μM. The electrode was successfully used in the determination of DA in real samples and generated acceptable outputs.

“The proposed electrochemical sensor could be an exceptional step forward in DA detection and pave the way for the molecular diagnosis of neurological illnesses.”