Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 52, Issue 1, pp 185–196 | Cite as

Facile preparation of highly luminescent composites by polymer embedding of carbon dots derived from N-hydroxyphthalimide

  • Corneliu Sergiu Stan
  • Petronela Gospei Horlescu
  • Laura Elena Ursu
  • Marcel Popa
  • Cristina Albu
Original Paper


Highly luminescent composites were prepared through embedding newly developed carbon dots (C-Dots) derived from N-hydroxyphthalimide in PS, PVC and PC polymer matrices. N-hydroxyphthalimide was found to be an excellent precursor for obtaining C-Dots through a simple pyrolytic process. The C-Dots prepared by the described method are highly luminescent with an absolute quantum yield of 79.95 % which is among the highest values reported up to date. The resulted composites preserve the remarkable photoluminescent properties of the embedded C-Dots. The composites were processed in thin films or various shaped monoliths. Prior to embedment, the composition and morphology of the prepared C-Dots were investigated by XPS, FT-IR, P-XRD, DLS TEM and fluorescence spectroscopy whereas the prepared composites were investigated by AFM. Due to their truly remarkable photoluminescent properties and facile fabrication, the prepared C-Dots and related composites could be of interest for applications ranging from sensors to solar energy conversion and light-emitting devices. As will be described later, one suggested straightforward application is the UV protection of various sensitive surfaces provided by thin layers of prepared composites.


Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Polymer Matrice Prepared Composite Agglomeration Tendency Absolute Quantum Yield 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work was supported by a grant of the Romanian National Authority for Scientific Research, CNCS – UEFISCDI, Project No. PN-II-ID-PCE 2011-3-0708, PN-II IDEI 335/2011.

Supplementary material

10853_2016_320_MOESM1_ESM.doc (510 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 510 kb)


  1. 1.
    Li H, Kang Z, Liu Y, Lee ST (2012) Carbon nanodots: synthesis, properties and application. J Mater Chem 22:24230–24253CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Xu Y, Wu M, Liu Y, Feng XZ, Yin XB, He XW, Zhang YK (2013) Nitrogen-doped carbon dots: a facile and general preparation method photoluminescence investigation, and imaging applications. Chem Eur J 19:2276–2283CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Deng Y, Chen X, Wang F, Zhang X, Zhao D, Shen D (2014) Environment-dependent photon emission from solid state carbon dots and its mechanism. Nanoscale 17:10388–10393CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Song Y, Zhu S, Zhang S, Fu Y, Wang L, Zhao X, Yang B (2015) Investigation from chemical structure to photoluminescent mechanism: a type of carbon dots from the pyrolysis of citric acid and an amine. J Mater Chem C 3:5976–5984CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Fu M, Ehrat F, Wang Y, Milowska KZ, Reckmeier C, Rogach AL, Stolarczyk JK, Urban AS, Feldmann J (2015) Carbon dots: a unique fluorescent cocktail of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Nano Lett 15:6030–6035CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Li M, Wu W, Ren W, Cheng HM, Tang N (2012) Synthesis and upconversion luminescence of N-doped graphene quantum dots. Appl Phys Lett 101:103107CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Yin B, Deng J, Peng X, Long Q, Zhao J, Lu Q, Chen H, Li HT, Zhang Y, Yao S (2013) Green synthesis of carbon dots with down-and up-conversion fluorescent properties for sensitive detection of hypochlorite with a dual-readout assay. Analyst 138:6551–6557CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Wen X, Yu P, Toh YR, Ma X, Tang J (2014) On the upconversion fluorescence in carbon nanodots and graphene quantum dots. Chem Commun 50:4703–4706CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Song Y, Zhu S, Yang B (2014) Bioimaging based on fluorescent carbon dots. RSC Adv 52:27184–27200CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Wei W, Lu C, Guang LW (2014) Biological applications of carbon dots. Sci China Chem 57:522–539CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Mirtchev P, Henderson EJ, Soheilnia N, Yip CM, Ozin GA (2012) Solution phase synthesis of carbon quantum dots as sensitizers for nanocrystalline TiO2 solar cells. J Mater Chem 22:1265–1269CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Zhang X, Zhang Y, Wang Y, Kalytchuk S, Kershaw SV, Wang Y, Wang P, Zhang T, Zhao Y, Zhang H, Wang TC, Zhao J, Yu WW, Rogach AL (2013) Color-switchable electroluminescence of carbon dot light-emitting diodes. ACS Nano 7:11234–11241CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Shen L (2011) Biocompatible polymer/quantum dots hybrid materials: current status and future developments. J Funct Biomater 2:355–372CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Kim TH, Cho KS, Lee EK, Lee SJ, Chae J, Kim JW, Kim DH et al (2011) Full-colour quantum dot displays fabricated by transfer printing. Nat Photon 5:176–182CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Wood V, Panzer MJ, Chen J, Bradley MS, Halpert JE, Bawendi MG, Bulovic V (2009) inkjet-printed quantum dot-polymer composites for full-color AC-driven displays. Adv Mater 2(1):2151–2155CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Chung W, Park K, Yu HJ, Kim B, Kim SH (2010) White emission using mixtures of CdSe quantum dots and PMMA as a phosphor. Opt Mater 32:515–521CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Nizamoglu S, Zengin G, Demir HV (2008) Color-converting combinations of nanocrystal emitters for warm-white light generation with high color rendering index. Appl Phys Lett 92:031102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Xu Y, Wang Y, Liang J, Huang Y, Ma Y, Wan X, Chen Y (2009) A hybrid material of graphene and poly (3,4-ethyldioxythiophene) with high conductivity, flexibility, and transparency. Nano Res 2:343–348CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Zhang X, Pint CL, Lee MH, Schubert BE, Jamshidi A, Takei K, Ko H, Gillies A, Bardhan R, Urban JJ, Wu M, Fearing R, Javey A (2011) Optically- and thermally-responsive programmable materials based on carbon nanotube-hydrogel polymer composites. Nano Lett 11:3239–3244CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Hong W, Xu Y, Lu G, Li C, Shi G (2008) Transparent graphene/PEDOT–PSS composite films as counter electrodes of dye-sensitized solar cells. Electrochem Commun 10:1555–1558CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Xu C, Cao Y, Kumar R, Wu X, Wang X, Scott K (2011) A polybenzimidazole/sulfonated graphite oxide composite membrane for high temperature polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells. J Mater Chem 21:11359–11364CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Xiao J, Wang X, Yang XQ, Xun S, Liu G, Koech PK, Liu J, Lemmon JP (2011) Electrochemically induced high capacity displacement reaction of PEO/MoS2/graphene nanocomposites with lithium. Adv Funct Mater 21:2840–2846CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Bonaccorso F, Sun Z, Hasan T, Ferrari AC (2010) Graphene photonics and optoelectronics. Nat Photon 4:611–622CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Luk CM, Chen BL, Teng KS, Tang LB, Lau SP (2014) Optically and electrically tunable graphene quantum dot–polyaniline composite films. J Mater Chem C 2:4526–4532CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Wu L, Luderer M, Yang X, Swain C, Zhang H, Nelson K, Stacy AJ, Shen B, Lanza GM, Pan D (2013) surface passivation of carbon nanoparticles with branched macromolecules influences near infrared bioimaging. Theranostics 3:677–686CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Huang JJ, Zhong ZF, Rong MZ, Zhou X, Chen XD, Zhang MQ (2014) An easy approach of preparing strongly luminescent carbon dots and their polymer based composites for enhancing solar cell efficiency. Carbon 70:190–198CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Stan CS, Coroaba A, Popa M, Albu C, Sutiman D (2014) One step synthesis of fluorescent carbon dots through pyrolysis of N-hydroxysuccinimide. J Mat Chem C 3:789–795CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Krishnakumar V, Sivasubramanian M, Muthunatesan S (2009) Density functional theory study and vibrational analysis of FT-IR and FT-Raman spectra of N-hydroxyphthalimide. J Raman Spectrosc 40:987–991CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Sadek PC (2002) The HPLC solvent guide, 2nd edn. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Tian R, Hu S, Wu L, Chang Q, Yang J, Liu J (2014) Tailoring surface groups of carbon quantum dots to improve photoluminescence behaviors. Appl Surf Sci 301:156–160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Gu J, Hu D, Wang W, Zhang Q, Meng Z, Jia X, Xi K (2015) Carbon dot cluster as an efficient “off–on” fluorescent probe to detect Au(III) and glutathione. Biosens Bioelectron 68:27–33CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Zhi Y, Minghan X, Yun L, Fengjiao H, Feng G, Yanjie S, Hao W, Yafei Z (2014) Nitrogen-doped, carbon-rich, highly photoluminescent carbon dots from ammonium citrate. Nanoscale 6(3):1890–1895CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Chemical Engineering and Environmental ProtectionGh. Asachi Technical UniversityIasiRomania
  2. 2.Centre of Advanced Research in Bionanoconjugates and Biopolymers“Petru Poni” Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry of Romanian AcademyIasiRomania

Personalised recommendations