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Nano Research

Article Title

Synthesis, mechanical investigation, and application of nitrogen and phosphorus co-doped carbon dots with a high photoluminescent quantum yield

Authors

Quan Xu, State Key Laboratory of Heavy Oil Processing, China University of Petroleum (Beijing), Beijing 102249, China
Bofan Li, State Key Laboratory of Heavy Oil Processing, China University of Petroleum (Beijing), Beijing 102249, China
Yingchun Ye, State Key Laboratory of Heavy Oil Processing, China University of Petroleum (Beijing), Beijing 102249, China
Wei Cai, State Key Laboratory of Heavy Oil Processing, China University of Petroleum (Beijing), Beijing 102249, China
Weijun Li, State Key Laboratory of Heavy Oil Processing, China University of Petroleum (Beijing), Beijing 102249, China
Chuanyao Yang, Department of Pharmacy, Sichuan Academy of Medical Science & Sichuan Provincial People’s Hospital, School of Medicine, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu 610072, China
Yusheng Chen, Department of Chemistry, University of Akron, Akron, Ohio 44325, USA
Meng Xu, Department of Orthopedics, General Hospital of Chinese People’s Liberation Army, Beijing 100853, China
Neng Li, State Key Laboratory of Silicate Materials for Architectures, Wuhan University of Technology, Wuhan 430070, China
Xusheng Zheng, National Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory (NSRL), University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei 230029, China
Jason Street, Department of Sustainable Bioproducts, Mississippi State University, Starkville, MS 39762, USA
Yan Luo, Department of Chemical Engineering, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV 26506, USA
Lulu Cai, Department of Pharmacy, Sichuan Academy of Medical Science & Sichuan Provincial People’s Hospital, School of Medicine, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu 610072, China

Keywords

carbon dots, photoluminescence mechanism, nanosensor, density functional theory

Abstract

ABSTRACT Heteroatom-doped carbon dots (CDs) with a high photoluminescent quantum yield (PLQY) have recently attracted attention due to their applications in chemical sensors, photocatalysis, bioimaging, and drug delivery. Nitrogen and phosphorus are in close proximity to carbon in the periodic table and are key tracking elements in the field of biomedical imaging. These two elements alter the optical and electronic properties of CDs and help improve the fundamental understanding of their PLQY. This can also lead to multifunctional usage in photoimaging and photothermal therapy. However, most PLQYs resulting from the synthesis of P-doped CDs are currently below 50%. These CDs have limited usefulness in the fields of bioimaging and drug delivery. In this study, a single-step, high-efficiency hydrothermal method was applied to synthesize nitrogen and phosphorous-doped carbon dots ((N,P)-CDs) with a PLQY of up to 53.8% with independent emission behavior. Moreover, the CDs presented high monodispersity, robust excitation-independent luminescence, and stability over a large pH range. Spectroscopic investigations indicated that the PLQY of the (N,P)-CDs was primarily due to the addition of P and the passivation effect of the oxidized surface. The excellent fluorescence properties of (N,P)-CDs can be effectively and selectively quenched by Hg2+ ions. Such systems show a linear response in the 0–900 nM concentration range with a short response time, indicating their potential for applications in the fields of chemistry and biology.

Graphical Abstract

Publisher

Tsinghua University Press

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