Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Member

Dr. Ya-Ping Sun, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Brain Dominy

Committee Member

Dr. Andrew G. Tennyson

Committee Member

Dr. Daniel C. Whitehead


Carbon dots, a new class of benign fluorescent nanomaterials, have been widely studied over the past ten years, as reflected by the recent exponential growth of publications. Such properties as their optical performance, physicochemical and photochemical stability, and aqueous solubility enable them to serve as bright optical probes in a variety of imaging and sensing applications. This dissertation explores the essence of carbon dots, systemically comparing them to graphene quantum dots, thus providing a reexamination of the former. It provides an enhanced understanding of carbon dots from a structural and mechanistic perspective based on the results from their functionalization and defunctionalization. This study also analyzes the advantages of the optical and redox properties of carbon nanoparticles in comparison to other zero-dimensional carbon allotropes, specifically fullerenes, functionalized by electronic polymers. The results should prove interesting and valuable for the further application of carbon dots in various optoelectronic devices and systems.



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