Microchimica Acta

, 186:612 | Cite as

A simple method for the preparation of multi-color carbon quantum dots by using reversible regulatory color transformation

  • Dongying Li
  • Shuangpeng Wang
  • Fahad Azad
  • Lingzhi Zhao
  • Shichen SuEmail author
Original Paper


It is known that polychromatic carbon quantum dots (CQDs) can be obtained by doping and surface modification. The layer-wise synthesis of blue and green emitting CQDs (with typical sizes between 3 and 6 nm) is described here by adding oxalic acid and by introducing polycarboxy groups. By changing the external environment, the emission of CQDs can be adjusted in the blue-green spectral region (469–527 nm) under photoexcitation at 405 nm. The findings presented here provide new directions for the reversible regulatory transformation of polychromatic CQDs. The luminescence also is affected by a variety of conditions such as surface defects, degree of polymerization, polarity of external solutions, and hydrogen bonding which is studied in some detail.

Graphical abstract

Schematic presentation of the blue-green fluorescent transformation of the green carbon quantum dots(G-CQDs) to blue carbon quantum dots(B-CQDs).


Carbon quantum dots Multicolor fluorescence Reversible regulation Oxalic acid Hydrogen bonding Polycarboxy groups Luminescent materials 



This work is supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 61574063); Science and Technology Program of Guangdong Province, China (Grant Nos. 2017A050506047, 2017B030311013); Guangzhou Science and Technology Project (Grant Nos. 201904010399, 201804010169); Science and Technology Development Fund (FDCT 084/2016/A2) from Macau SAR; Multi-Year Research Grants (MYRG-00149-FST) from University of Macau.

Compliance with ethical standards

The author(s) declare that they have no competing interests.

Supplementary material

604_2019_3717_MOESM1_ESM.doc (28.6 mb)
ESM 1 (DOC 29261 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dongying Li
    • 1
  • Shuangpeng Wang
    • 2
  • Fahad Azad
    • 3
  • Lingzhi Zhao
    • 1
    • 4
  • Shichen Su
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of Semiconductor Science and TechnologySouth China Normal UniversityGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.Instituted of Applied Physics and Materials EngineeringUniversity of MacauMacauChina
  3. 3.School of Natural Sciences (SNS)National University of Science and Technology (NUST)IslamabadPakistan
  4. 4.Guangdong Provincial Engineering Technology Research Center for Low Carbon and Advanced Energy MaterialsGuangzhouChina

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