Institute of Crystallography - CNR

Dye-Derived Red-Emitting Carbon Dots for Lasing and Solid-State Lighting

Carbon dots are carbon-based nanoparticles renowned for their intense light-emitting capabilities covering the whole visible light range. Achieving carbon dots emitting in the red region with high efficiency is extremely relevant due to their huge potential in biological applications and in optoelectronics. Currently, photoluminescence in such an energy interval is often associated with polyheterocyclic molecular domains forming during the synthesis that, however, present low emission efficiency and issues in controlling the optical features. Here, we overcome these problems by solvothermally synthesizing carbon dots starting from Neutral Red, a common red-emitting dye, as a molecular precursor. As a result of the synthesis, such molecular fluorophore is incorporated into a carbonaceous core while retaining its original optical properties. The obtained nanoparticles are highly luminescent in the red region, with a quantum yield comparable to that of the starting dye. Most importantly, the nanoparticle carbogenic matrix protects the Neutral Red molecules from photobleaching under ultraviolet excitation while preventing aggregation-induced quenching, thus allowing solid-state emission. These advantages have been exploited to develop a fluorescence-based color conversion layer by fabricating polymer-based highly concentrated solid-state carbon dot nanocomposites. Finally, the dye-based carbon dots demonstrate both stable Fabry-Perot lasing and efficient random lasing emission in the red region.

ACS nano (Online)
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Antonino Madonia, Gianluca Minervini, Angela Terracina, Ashim Pramanik, Vincenzo Martorana, Alice Sciortino, Carlo M. Carbonaro, Chiara Olla, Teresa Sibillano, Cinzia Giannini, Elisabetta Fanizza, Maria L. Curri, Annamaria Panniello, Fabrizio Messina, and Marinella Striccoli