Exploring the Role of Surface States in Emissive Carbon Nanodots: Analysis at Single-Particle Level

Dongseok Kim, Rosemary L. Calabro, Abdullah A. Masud, Nadeesha L. Kothalawala, Minsu Gu, Seung Yeon Kwak, Won Joon Son, Kyu Young Hwang, Hyeonho Choi, Christopher I. Richards, Doo Young Kim, Byeong Su Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Fluorescent carbon nanodots (CDs) have been highlighted as promising semiconducting materials due to their outstanding chemical and optical properties. However, the intrinsic heterogeneity of CDs has impeded a clear understanding of the mechanisms behind their photophysical properties. In this study, as-prepared CDs are fractionated via chromatography to reduce their structural and chemical heterogeneity and analyzed through ensemble and single-particle spectroscopies. Many single particles reveal fluorescence intensity fluctuations between two or more discrete levels with bi-exponential decays. While the intrinsic τ1 components are uniform among single particles, the τ2 components from molecule-like emissions spans a wider range of lifetimes, reflecting the inhomogeneity of the surface states. Furthermore, it is concluded that the relative population and chemical states of surface functional groups in CDs have a significant impact on emissive states, brightness, blinking, stability, and lifetime distribution of photoluminescence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4155-4164
Number of pages10
JournalChemistry - An Asian Journal
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 13 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Wiley-VCH GmbH


  • Carbon nanodots
  • Column chromatography
  • Photoluminescence
  • Single-particle spectroscopy
  • Surface functional groups

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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