The Science


C-dots (carbon dots) are a novel class of carbon-based spherical nanomaterials with diameters less than 10 nm. They are present in the nature and have been found in honey and beer. With abundant laboratory techniques, c-dots have also been synthesized with diverse carbon-based precursors. The synthetic approaches of carbon dots are generally divided into top-down and bottom-up approaches mediated by hydrothermal/solvothermal, microwave, ultrasonication, laser ablation and arc discharge. In recent years, carbon dots gradually draw much attention due to their unique properties and numerous promising applications.



C-dots (carbon dots) possess the following properties:

  1. C-dots belong to the smallest carbon-based nanoparticle class. Considering the nanoscale, C-dots have many unique optical, catalytic and electrical properties. Carbon dots are well characterized for their excellent photoluminescence that is tunable according to the requirement for different applications.
  2. C-dots are spherical nanoparticles. They have large surface area, high surface to volume ratio and abundant functional groups, which are beneficial for the covalent conjugation with various drug molecules.
  3. Due to the presence of various functional groups on the surface, the surface of C-dots is full of electron donors and acceptors, which is advantageous for catalysis.
  4. C-dots are biocompatible, which is supported by many in vitro and in vivo tests, as their precursors are carbon based instead of heavy, toxic metals.  
  5. Different from traditional quantum dots, C-dots can highly disperse into water and even organic solvents with specific preparation methods.
  6. C-dots usually carry negative surface charge due to the rich carboxyl and or hydroxyl groups on the surface and have shown a great thermoelectric effect.