Photo-caged carbon nanoparticles (CNPs) that are non-luminescent under typical microscopic illumination but can be activated by UV light have been synthesized in this work. Negatively charged "bare"CNPs with high luminescence can lose their photoluminescence (PL) when they are chemically crosslinked to a monomer and subsequently polymerized to form an intra-particulate "caged"network at the nanoscale surface. These caged particles could regain their PL emission upon UV irradiation for a sustained period (∼24 h) resulting in the photolytic cleavage of the polymer network, thus, freeing the nanoscale surface of CNPs, ultimately resulting in six-fold emission enhancement. This reversible "on-off-on"PL switching process was verified by spectroscopic techniques. We successfully demonstrated in this work that CNPs can be switched reversibly between fluorescent and non-fluorescent states by irradiation with light. These results further substantiate that the origin of PL in CNPs is a surface phenomenon and highly dependent on their nanoscale coverage.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Materials Science