Synthesis of nitrogen-doping carbon dots with different photoluminescence properties by controlling the surface states†
Surface states of carbon dots (CDs) are critical to the photoemission properties of CDs. By carefully adjusting the reaction conditions in a hydrothermal synthesis route, we have prepared a series of CDs with excitation-dependent emission (EDE) and excitation-independent emission (EIE) properties by controlling the content of nitrogen elements, confirming that the characteristic optical properties of CDs originate from their energy levels. It has been found that surface-passivation of the as-prepared CDs by nitrogen doping can improve the emission efficiency and be beneficial to EIE features due to the single electron transition resulting from the single functional groups. And the as-prepared CDs can specifically bind with Hg2+ with the emission quenched because of the electron transfer from the LUMO levels of CDs to Hg2+.