Photoluminescence enhancement via microwave irradiation of carbon quantum dots derived from solvothermal synthesis of l-arginine†
Photoluminescence enhancement of carbon quantum dots was achieved via solvothermal synthesis followed by microwave irradiation. Nitrogen and phosphorous doped carbon quantum dots were prepared by solvothermal heating of L-arginine with phosphoric acid for 12 hours followed by microwave irradiation for 3 minutes. The photoluminescence enhancement was nearly two fold after microwave irradiation. The morphology, structure, and surface properties were the same for the solvothermal (CQDs-S) as well as after microwave (CQDs-M) irradiation. Thus, the enhancement is attributed to the decrease of surface defects within CQDs, which led to a decrease in the non-radiative transitions. The CQDs were quenched selectively by Fe3+ ions. The quenching led to the fabrication of the fluorescence probe for ferric ion determination. The CQDs-M had a low detection limit of 4.0 nM, while CQDs-S had a limit of 50 nM. This study gives a tool for enhancing photoluminescence quantum yields, which is highly desired for biosensing and bioimaging applications.