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Nano Research

Article Title

Nitrogen-doped graphene quantum dots: Optical properties modification and photovoltaic applications

Keywords

nitrogen-doped graphene quantum dots, ozone treatment, optical properties, photovoltaics, solar cells

Abstract

In this work, we utilize a bottom-up approach to synthesize nitrogen self-doped graphene quantum dots (NGQDs) from a single glucosamine precursor via an eco-friendly microwave-assisted hydrothermal method. Structural and optical properties of as-produced NGQDs are further modified using controlled ozone treatment. Ozone-treated NGQDs (Oz-NGQDs) are reduced in size to 5.5 nm with clear changes in the lattice structure and ID/IG Raman ratios due to the introduction/alteration of oxygen-containing functional groups detected by Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectrometer and further verified by energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX) showing increased atomic/weight percentage of oxygen atoms. Along with structural modifications, GQDs experience decrease in ultraviolet–visible (UV–vis) absorption coupled with progressive enhancement of visible (up to 16 min treatment) and near-infrared (NIR) (up to 45 min treatment) fluorescence. This allows fine-tuning optical properties of NGQDs for solar cell applications yielding controlled emission increase, while controlled emission quenching was achieved by either blue laser or thermal treatment. Optimized Oz-NGQDs were further used to form a photoactive layer of solar cells with a maximum efficiency of 2.64% providing a 6-fold enhancement over untreated NGQD devices and a 3-fold increase in fill factor/current density. This study suggests simple routes to alter and optimize optical properties of scalably produced NGQDs to boost the photovoltaic performance of solar cells.

Graphical Abstract

Publisher

Tsinghua University Press

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