Coal as an abundant source of graphene quantum dots

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Author(s)

  • Changsheng Xiang
  • Jian Lin
  • Zhiwei Peng
  • Kewei Huang
  • Zheng Yan
  • Nathan P. Cook
  • Errol L.G. Samuel
  • Chih-Chau Hwang
  • Gedeng Ruan
  • Gabriel Ceriotti
  • Abdul-Rahman O. Raji
  • Angel A. Martí
  • James M. Tour

Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Article number2943
Journal / PublicationNature Communications
Volume4
Publication statusPublished - 6 Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes

Abstract

Coal is the most abundant and readily combustible energy resource being used worldwide. However, its structural characteristic creates a perception that coal is only useful for producing energy via burning. Here we report a facile approach to synthesize tunable graphene quantum dots from various types of coal, and establish that the unique coal structure has an advantage over pure sp2 -carbon allotropes for producing quantum dots. The crystalline carbon within the coal structure is easier to oxidatively displace than when pure sp2 -carbon structures are used, resulting in nanometre-sized graphene quantum dots with amorphous carbon addends on the edges. The synthesized graphene quantum dots, produced in up to 20% isolated yield from coal, are soluble and fluorescent in aqueous solution, providing promise for applications in areas such as bioimaging, biomedicine, photovoltaics and optoelectronics, in addition to being inexpensive additives for structural composites.

Citation Format(s)

Coal as an abundant source of graphene quantum dots. / Ye, Ruquan; Xiang, Changsheng; Lin, Jian; Peng, Zhiwei; Huang, Kewei; Yan, Zheng; Cook, Nathan P.; Samuel, Errol L.G.; Hwang, Chih-Chau; Ruan, Gedeng; Ceriotti, Gabriel; Raji, Abdul-Rahman O.; Martí, Angel A.; Tour, James M.

In: Nature Communications, Vol. 4, 2943, 06.12.2013.

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review