Phosphorescence shows great potential for application in bioimaging and ion detection because of its long-lived luminescence and high signal-to-noise ratio, but establishing phosphorescence emission in aqueous environments remains a challenge. Herein, we present a general design strategy that effectively promotes phosphorescence by utilising water molecules to construct hydrogen-bonded networks between carbon dots (CDs) and cyanuric acid (CA). Interestingly, water molecules not only cause no phosphorescence quenching but also greatly enhance the phosphorescence emission. This enhancement behaviour can be explained by the fact that the highly ordered bound water on the CA particle surface can construct robust bridge-like hydrogen-bonded networks between the CDs and CA, which not only effectively rigidifies the C=O bonds of the CDs but also greatly enhances the rigidity of the entire system. In addition, the CD-CA suspension exhibits a high phosphorescence lifetime (687 ms) and is successfully applied in ion detection based on its visible phosphorescence.
Nature Communications – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 21, 2018
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