Understanding spontaneous dissolution of crystalline layered carbon nitride for tuneable photoluminescent solutions and glasses†
The spontaneous dissolution of 2D polytriazine imide (PTI) carbon nitrides in certain solvents diverges dramatically from the inherent insolubility of other 2D materials such as graphene. Here, the mechanism of dissolution and underlying factors which govern PTI solubility are probed, uncovering a complex and adaptable system. At high concentrations, multi-layered species are co-dissolved, and these solubilised stacks may be further exfoliated to few- or single-layer species with the addition of water. While the PTI sheets are fundamentally soluble, the presence of intercalated lithium salts increases yield and improves the degree of exfoliation, with lithium cations adsorbed on the solvated PTI layers. The tuneable degree of delamination modifies the solutions' photoluminescent properties, which may be trapped in a solid phase following vitrification of the solvent.