Refractive-Index Tuning of Highly Fluorescent Carbon Dots

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In this manuscript, we report the refractive-index (RI) modulation of various concentrations of nitrogen-doped carbon dots (N@C-dots) embedded in poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) polymer. The dispersion and size distribution of N@C-dots embedded within PVA have been investigated using electron microscopy. The RI of PVA-N@C-dots can be enhanced by increasing the doping concentration of highly fluorescent C-dots (quantum yield 44%). This is demonstrated using ultraviolet visible (UV-visible), photoluminscence, Raman, and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy measurements. The Mie scattering of light on N@C-dots was applied for developing the relationship between RI tuning and absorption cross section of N@C-dots. The extinction cross section of N@C-dot thin films can be rapidly enhanced by either tuning the RI or increasing the concentration of N@C-dots. The developed method can be used as effective RI contrast for various applications such as holography creation and bioimaging.
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