Research ArticleOPTICS

Full-color fluorescent carbon quantum dots

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Science Advances  02 Oct 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 40, eabb6772
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abb6772


Quantum dots have innate advantages as the key component of optoelectronic devices. For white light–emitting diodes (WLEDs), the modulation of the spectrum and color of the device often involves various quantum dots of different emission wavelengths. Here, we fabricate a series of carbon quantum dots (CQDs) through a scalable acid reagent engineering strategy. The growing electron-withdrawing groups on the surface of CQDs that originated from acid reagents boost their photoluminescence wavelength red shift and raise their particle sizes, elucidating the quantum size effect. These CQDs emit bright and remarkably stable full-color fluorescence ranging from blue to red light and even white light. Full-color emissive polymer films and all types of high–color rendering index WLEDs are synthesized by mixing multiple kinds of CQDs in appropriate ratios. The universal electron-donating/withdrawing group engineering approach for synthesizing tunable emissive CQDs will facilitate the progress of carbon-based luminescent materials for manufacturing forward-looking films and devices.

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