|Acetone-derived luminescent polymer dots: a facile and low-cost synthesis leads to remarkable photophysical properties |
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Carbon-based dots have been attracting much attention as potentially superior alternatives to more conventional semiconductor (e.g. cadmium-based) nanoparticles, due to their fascinating optical properties, chemical and photochemical stability, a unique environment-friendliness, and the versatility of fabrication routes. So far, different commercial materials and organic compounds were considered as carbon precursors for the syntheses but in many cases there are issues with their homogeneity or the fabrication that may require high-temperature conditions. We report on a simple low-cost procedure to produce hydrophilic and hydrophobic fractions of non-conjugated carbon-rich polymer dots (PDs) with the average diameter of 2-4 nm (hydrophilic PDs) and ca. 6 nm (hydrophobic PDs), involving acetone as carbon precursor. The as-obtained PDs reveal the greenish-blue photoluminescence (PL) that is characterized by high PL quantum yields (∼5-7%) and complex kinetics of the PL decays with the average lifetimes estimated to be 3.5 ns. Such luminescent acetone-based PDs may have potential in several application fields, including sensing and bioimaging.