Development of a Classroom-Feasible Protocol for Carbon Dot Synthesis & Characterization

Level of Education of Students Involved


Faculty Sponsor

Lauren Sestito





Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Symposium Date

Spring 4-27-2023


Carbon dots (CDs) are an emerging zero dimensional carbon nanomaterial with a wide variety of applications in biological and mechanical fields. The versatility of CDs can be attributed to their various synthesis-dependent properties such as electrical and optical characteristics, including fluorescent properties. The goal of this research was to develop a classroom feasible carbon dot synthesis process that is simple, low temperature, and quick enough to be performed within a typical laboratory period to expand students' knowledge of carbon dots, synthesis methods, and the impact of synthesis parameters on particle characteristics. Carbon dots were synthesized by heating sucrose in phosphoric acid and water for approximately one hour and adding ammonium hydroxide as a passivator, yielding a solution that showed visible fluorescence under ultraviolet light. The fluorescence properties of the carbon dots were further characterized using a spectrophotometer at excitation wavelengths of 405 and 500 nm, and the impact of synthesis parameters including temperature, time, and component concentration on fluorescence properties was investigated. This approach promises to be an accessible classroom activity for nanomaterial exploration, and will be further expanded into a full lab protocol.

Biographical Information about Author(s)

Paityn Krout is a junior biomechanical engineering major with a minor in Spanish attending Valparaiso University. She was first introduced to carbon dots and their medical applications through the course nanomaterials taught by Professor L. Sestito before joining her in research in the spring of 2023.

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