Brewery spent grain derived carbon dots for metal sensing
This article presents a proof-of-concept to recycle microbrewery waste as a carbon source for synthesizing carbon dots (CDs). A simple method has been developed to synthesize water-soluble CDs based on microwave irradiation of brewery spent grain. The structures and optical properties of the CDs were characterized by ultraviolet-visible (UV-Vis) spectroscopy, photoluminescence spectroscopy (PL), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and transmission electron microscopy. The effects of reaction time, temperature and pH on the properties of carbon dots were studied. These CDs were found to be spherical with an average diameter of 5.3 nm, N-doped, containing many functional groups (hydroxyl, ethers, esters, carboxyl and amino groups), and to exhibit good photoluminescence with a fluorescent quantum yield of 14%. Finally, the interaction between carbon dots and metal ions was investigated towards developing CDs as a sensing technology for water treatment, food quality and safety detection.