Research ArticleMATERIALS SCIENCE

Carbon dots in zeolites: A new class of thermally activated delayed fluorescence materials with ultralong lifetimes

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Science Advances  26 May 2017:
Vol. 3, no. 5, e1603171
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1603171

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Abstract

Thermally activated delayed fluorescence (TADF) materials are inspiring intensive research in optoelectronic applications. To date, most of the TADF materials are limited to metal-organic complexes and organic molecules with lifetimes of several microseconds/milliseconds that are sensitive to oxygen. We report a facial and general “dots-in-zeolites” strategy to in situ confine carbon dots (CDs) in zeolitic matrices during hydrothermal/solvothermal crystallization to generate high-efficient TADF materials with ultralong lifetimes. The resultant CDs@zeolite composites exhibit high quantum yields up to 52.14% and ultralong lifetimes up to 350 ms at ambient temperature and atmosphere. This intriguing TADF phenomenon is due to the fact that nanoconfined space of zeolites can efficiently stabilize the triplet states of CDs, thus enabling the reverse intersystem crossing process for TADF. Meanwhile, zeolite frameworks can also hinder oxygen quenching to present TADF behavior at air atmosphere. This design concept introduces a new perspective to develop materials with unique TADF performance and various novel delayed fluorescence–based applications.

Keywords
  • carbon dots
  • zeolite
  • Thermally activated delayed fluorescence
  • composite materials
  • security protection
  • hydrothermal synthesis

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