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ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2019 May 29;11(21):19301-19307. doi: 10.1021/acsami.8b22605. Epub 2019 May 15.

Molecular Glue Strategy: Large-Scale Conversion of Clustering-Induced Emission Luminogen to Carbon Dots.

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Key Laboratory of Bio-based Material Science and Technology of Ministry of Education , Northeast Forestry University , Harbin 150040 , P. R. China.
State Key Laboratory of Chemical Engineering and School of Chemical Engineering , East China University of Science and Technology , Shanghai 200237 , P. R. China.
Department of Physical Chemistry, School of Chemistry, University College of Science , University of Tehran , Tehran 14155 , Iran.


Carbon dots have wide applications in bioimaging, encryption, sensing, and light-emitting devices, but most preparations of carbon dots require complicated separation and purification steps. Here, a clustering-induced emission luminogen, sodium alginate, was covalently "glued" by ethylenediamine to prepare carbon dots on a 100 g scale, without any separation or purification. The conversion yield was as high as 94.7%. Theoretical calculations suggested that the fluorescence emission of as-prepared carbon dots (N-CDs) was mainly attributable to through-space conjugation between oxygen atoms and carbonyl moieties. The N-CDs were shown to have applications as a fluorescent ink for encryption and as a phosphor for white light-emitting diodes. This work provides a convenient method for the large-scale preparation of carbon dots and a new understanding of fluorescent emission of carbon dots.


carbon dots; clustering-induced emission; inter-space conjugation; large-scale preparation; molecular glue


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