Nitrogen-doped carbon dots encapsulated in the mesoporous channels of SBA-15 with solid-state fluorescence and excellent stability†
A simple and low-cost approach is developed, by which nitrogen-doped carbon dots (NCDs) with a negative potential are assembled inside the mesoporous channels of SBA-15 via capillary force. The unique confined microenvironment leads to a strong interaction between confined NCDs and the inner surface of SBA-15, thus effectively avoiding the aggregation of NCDs. The resultant composite (NCDs-in-SBA-15) exhibits blue fluorescence similar to the NCD aqueous solution, and shows excellent structural, thermal and photostability. Solid NCDs-in-SBA-15 still emits fluorescence even after heat treatment at 400 °C under ambient atmosphere. In addition, NCDs-in-SBA-15 possesses remarkable resistance to acid/alkali solvents. Furthermore, NCDs-in-SBA-15 shows superior selectivity and adsorption capacity to Fe3+. The facile approach and these advantageous performances could make CDs meet the requirements of fluorescent materials in the solid state and then have wider applications.