Activating efficient room temperature phosphorescence of carbon dots by synergism of orderly non-noble metals and dual structural confinements
Obtaining high efficiency room temperature phosphorescence (RTP) by employing non-noble metals poses two challenges: (1) strengthening spin–orbit coupling of excitons to improve the rate of intersystem crossing (ISC) by using non-noble metals with small-atomic-number; (2) employing structural confinement to enhance radiation relaxation because harsh conditions, including carefully selected matrices, rigid solid-state crystalline structure and low temperature, are commonly needed. Here, layered double hydroxides (LDHs) with orderly non-noble metal arrangements were used as an inorganic matrix to activate RTP of carbon dots (CDs). The Zn orderly arranged on the LDH layer contributes to the enhancement in spin–orbit coupling of excitons and the decrease in the energy gap for the singlet–triplet state. The structural confinements of the LDH layer and nano-interlayer testify that the phosphorescence of CDs-LDHs originates from the suppressed radiationless relaxation processes. Using the high tunability of metal species and ratios on the LDH layer, this method can be widely applied to optimize ISC and phosphorescence properties.