Purple-emissive carbon dots enhance sensitivity of Si photodetectors to ultraviolet range†
In this work, we achieved the synthesis of purple-emissive carbon dots (p-CDs) by a simple and highly reproducible route using folic acid as the sole precursor. The emission of the p-CDs is located around 390 nm, and is independent of the excitation wavelength with a high photoluminescence quantum yield of 54.6%, thus complementing an emission color palette of brightly emitting carbon dots with purple. The purple-emissive CDs are highly stable in both the colloidal state and in polymer films. A carbon dot luminescence down-shifting layer is used to sensitize a Si photodetector to the UV range. As an example, p-CDs with an excitation maximum at 330 nm were integrated into a Si photodetector, resulting in an improvement in the photoresponsivity in a UV range from 0.8 to 2.5 mA W−1, with a relative enhancement of 203.8%. This work is a cheap, scalable, and environmentally friendly way to create purple-emissive carbon dots, which enhance the photoresponsivity of commercial photodetectors in the UV range, thus being suitable for optical power meters, optical wireless communication systems, sunlight sensors, spectrophotometers, or radiation detectors.