Practical access to bandgap-like N-doped carbon dots with dual emission unzipped from PAN@PMMA core–shell nanoparticles
As emergent nanolights for bioimaging, catalysis, sensors, and photoelectronics, carbon dots (C-dots) have attracted much research attention. However, the practical and scalable preparation of C-dots has been less explored, even after various top-down and bottom-up approaches being reported recently. To this end, we discover a new approach to prepare C-dots by simply unzipping core–shell polymeric nanoparticles, prepared by a microemulsion polymerization. Uniformly distributed N-doped C-dots are prepared by the pyrolysis of PAN@PMMA core–shell nanoparticles at different temperatures, followed by dialysis. TEM analysis shows that many of the C-dots of 2–3 nm size are unzipped from each polymeric particle. All the purified C-dots show a bandgap-like photoluminescence (PL) behaviour, with dual emission and a stable PL between pH 5–12.