One-pot and ultrafast synthesis of nitrogen and phosphorus co-doped carbon dots possessing bright dual wavelength fluorescence emission†
Very brief microwave heating of aniline, ethylene diamine, and phosphoric acid in water at ambient pressure generated nitrogen and phosphorus co-doped carbon dots (N,P-CDs) that exhibit bright dual blue (centred at 450 nm; 51% quantum yield) and green (centred at 510 nm, 38% quantum yield) fluorescence emission bands. The N,P-CDs were characterized using TEM, XRD, XPS, IR, UV-vis, and fluorescence spectroscopy, demonstrating their partially crystalline carbon, partially amorphous structures, and the incorporation of O, N, and P into the carbogenic scaffold. The N,P-CDs demonstrated excitation-dependent and nearly pH-independent emission properties. The unique dual emission properties lay the foundation for the use of N,P-CDs in ratiometric sensing applications.