Efficient Photosensitizing Capabilities and Ultrafast Carrier Dynamics of Doped Carbon Dots

Somen Mondal, Anna Yucknovsky, Katherine Akulov, Nandan Ghorai, Tal Schwartz, Hirendra N. Ghosh, Nadav Amdursky*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Carbon dots (C-Dots) are promising new materials for the development of biocompatible photosensitizers for solar-driven catalysis and hydrogen production in aqueous solution. Compared to common semiconducting quantum dots, C-Dots have good physicochemical, as well as photochemical stability, optical brightness, stability and nontoxicity, while their carbon based source results in tunable surface chemistry, chemical versatility, low cost, and biocompatibility. Herein we show that doping the C-Dots with phosphate or boron significantly influences their excited-state dynamics, which is observed by the formation of a unique long-lived photoproduct as a function of the different dopants. To probe the photosensitizing capabilities of the C-Dots, we followed the photoreduction of methyl viologen (MV2+), which acts as a molecular redox mediator (electron acceptor) to the C-Dots (the photosensitizer, i.e., electron donor) in aqueous solution, using steady-state and time-resolved fluorescence and absorption spectroscopic techniques as well as electrochemical measurements. We show that ultrafast electron transfer to MV2+ and slow charge recombination results in a high quantum yield of MV2+ photoreduction, while the doping drastically influences this quantum yield of MV2+ radical. Our findings contribute to the photophysical understanding of this intriguing and relatively new carbon-based nanoparticle and can improve the design and development of efficient photosensitizers over commonly used heterogeneous catalysts in photocatalytic systems by increasing the efficiency of radical generation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15413-15422
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number38
StatePublished - 25 Sep 2019


FundersFunder number
Grand Technion Energy Program
PBC fellowship of Israel’s council of higher education
Israel Science Foundation1993/13
Ministry of Science and Technology, Israel


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