One-step solvothermal synthesis of high-emissive amphiphilic carbon dots via rigidity derivation†
In nanoscience, amphiphilic carbon dots (ACDs) are of great importance due to their excellent transferability for application in biological sensing, imaging and labelling. However, facile synthetic strategies are still limited, especially for obtaining high-emissive ACDs. Since the development of a high-emissive feature is strongly desired for improving the practical resolution in vivo, here we report a chemical strategy that uses rigid molecules to straightforwardly construct amphiphilic carbon dots (ACDs) with high luminescence quantum yields (QYs). By using 1-[bis(dimethylamino)methylene]-1H-1,2,3-triazolo[4,5-b]pyridinium 3-oxide hexafluorophosphate (HATU), a typical coplanar compound, as the only precursor, well-defined ACDs were prepared via a one-step solvothermal process which exhibited a superior QY of up to 29%, largely superior to those prepared from precursors with less rigid structures. The effect can be mainly attributed to a significant suppression of the competition of non-radiative decay through rigidity derivation. Metal ionic doping during the synthesis resulted in a further improvement of the crystallinity and monodispersity of the materials, with retention of the high-emissive ability. This high-emissive photoluminescence behavior of the ACDs is accompanied with an excitation-wavelength dependence, a high biocompatibility and a low toxicity, which together make the ACDs advantageous for application in multi-channel bioimaging.
- This article is part of the themed collection: In celebration of Chinese New Year