Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department



Sun, Dr. Ya-Ping

Committee Member

Dominy , Dr. Brian N

Committee Member

Tennyson , Dr. Andrew G

Committee Member

Gao , Dr. Bruce Z


World energy consumption has increasingly grown over the past several decades.Because of its potential in photochemical energy conversion, photocatalysis has been the subject of much recent research. Recently, carbon or graphene-based quantum dots have attracted growing attention in solar energy conversion applications, because of its unique optoelectronic properties, broad-band optical absorption, bright fluorescence emissions, favorable photoinduced electron transfer properties, reliable chemical inertness and stability, cost-effectiveness, and non-toxicity. While nanosized wide band gap semiconductor-based systems were largely at the center of attention in such studies, carbon-based quantum dots have recently emerged as a new class of semiconductor like photoactive materials, due to some of its excellent optical figures of merit suited for light harvesting applications. In this dissertation, we have demonstrated the possibility of using quantum-sized carbon particles as chromophores for photosensitized energy conversion and visible-light photocatalysts for carbon dioxide conversion to organic acids as well as results supporting photoinduced redox properties in carbon nanodots. Metal- and semiconductor-doped carbon nanodots in various configurations have been developed for their utility in photocatalytic conversion of carbon dioxide. Our results demonstrate that nanoscale carbon dots represent a promising new alternative platform for light-driven energy conversion applications, competitive to conventional nanoscale semiconductor-based photocatalytic systems.

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