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Small variations in reaction conditions tunes carbon dot fluorescence

Garcia Millan, Teodoro, Swift, Thomas, Morgan, David John ORCID:, Harniman, Robert L, Masheder, Benjamin, Hughes, Stephen, Davis, Sean A, Oliver, Tom and Galan, M. Carmen 2022. Small variations in reaction conditions tunes carbon dot fluorescence. Nanoscale 14 (18) , pp. 6930-6940. 10.1039/D2NR01306A

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The development of robust and reproducible synthetic strategies for the production of carbon dots with improved fluorescence quantum yields and distinct emission profiles is of great relevance given the vast range of applications of CDs. The fundamental understanding at a molecular level of their formation mechanism, chemical structure and how these parameters are correlated to their photoluminescence (PL) properties is thus essential. In this study, we describe the synthesis and structural characterization of a range of CDs with distinct physico-chemical properties. The materials were prepared under three minutes of microwave irradiation using the same common starting materials (GlcNH2·HCl 1 and EDA 2) but modifying the stoichiometry of the reagents. We show that small changes in reaction conditions leads to the tailoring of the fluorescent behaviour of the CDs from apparent blue to green emission. Structural analysis of the different CD samples suggested different reaction pathways during the CD formation and surface passivation, with the latter step being key to the observed differences. Moreover, we demonstrate that the different materials also respond reversibly to changes in pH, which we can attribute to different behaviour towards protonation/deprotonation events of distinct emission domains present within each nanomaterial. Our results highlight the importance of understanding the reaction pathways that lead to the formation of this carbon-based nanomaterials and how this can be exploited to develop tailored materials towards specific applications.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Chemistry
Cardiff Catalysis Institute (CCI)
Additional Information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Licence
Publisher: Royal Society of Chemistry
ISSN: 2040-3364
Funders: ERC, EPSRC and the Royal Society
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 12 April 2022
Date of Acceptance: 22 March 2022
Last Modified: 15 May 2023 20:08

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