Oil-Dispersible Green-Emitting Carbon Dots: New Insights on a Facile and Efficient Synthesis

Gianluca Minervini, Annamaria Panniello, Elisabetta Fanizza, Angela Agostiano, Maria Lucia Curri, Marinella Striccoli
2020 Materials  
Carbon dots (CDs) have been progressively attracting interest as novel environmentally friendly and cost-effective luminescent nanoparticles, for implementation in light-emitting devices, solar cells, photocatalytic devices and biosensors. Here, starting from a cost-effective bottom-up synthetic approach, based on a suitable amphiphilic molecule as carbon precursor, namely cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC), green-emitting CDs have been prepared at room temperature, upon treatment of CPC with
more » ... t of CPC with concentrated NaOH solutions. The investigated method allows the obtaining, in one-pot, of both water-dispersible (W-CDs) and oil-dispersible green-emitting CDs (O-CDs). The study provides original insights into the chemical reactions involved in the process of the carbonization of CPC, proposing a reliable mechanism for the formation of the O-CDs in an aqueous system. The ability to discriminate the contribution of different species, including molecular fluorophores, allows one to properly single out the O-CDs emission. In addition, a mild heating of the reaction mixture, at 70 °C, has demonstrated the ability to dramatically decrease the very long reaction time (i.e. from tens of hours to days) at room temperature, allowing us to synthesize O-CDs in a few tens of minutes while preserving their morphological and optical properties.
doi:10.3390/ma13173716 pmid:32842684 fatcat:7ayhcrielvdp7nt4lndiluyjru