A good hair day for glowing nanoparticles


Photographs of carbon dot ink patterns under UV light

By raiding their local barber’s shop, scientists in China have found the ideal raw material for an emerging class of fluorescent nanoparticles.

The desirable optical properties, chemical inertness and biocompatibility of carbon dots has led researchers to explore their application in anti-counterfeiting fields and flat panel displays. Various methods for making carbon dots have been reported, but the new pyrolysis strategy from Su Chen and colleagues at Nanjing Tech University repurposes hair waste that would otherwise be thrown away. As well as being safe-to-handle and abundant, hair contains just the right balance of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen for making the fluorescent nanoparticles.

The carbon dots have been incorporated into inks, which were printed onto a surface to demonstrate their effectiveness. When placed under UV light the printed pattern emits bright blue light, in daylight it’s invisible. 

References

This paper is free to access until 2 July 2014. Download it here:

S-S Liu et al, J. Mater. Chem. C, 2014, DOI: 10.1039/c4tc00636d


Related Content

Three glowing mice

16 May 2014 Research

news image

People's exposure to nanoparticles could be tested for with skin biopsies

Emily Weiss: Tuneable illumination

10 July 2014 Research

news image

Emily Weiss tells Guy Jones how quantum dots are the perfect combination of molecular chromophores and bulk semiconductors

Most Read

Antimicrobial resistance will kill 300 million by 2050 without action

16 December 2014 News and Analysis

news image

UK report says resistance will cost global economy $100 trillion

Cutting edge chemistry in 2014

10 December 2014 Research

news image

We take a look back at the year's most interesting chemical science stories

Most Commented

A bad business

19 December 2014 Critical Point

news image

Targets and assessments can boost productivity at universities – but only if they do not stifle creativity and alienate the...

Chemistry behind the ‘blue man’ unlocked

1 November 2012 Research

news image

Biochemical model suggests that silver ions, not nanoparticles, cause a rare skin complaint