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

Quintuple bond activates small stable molecules

19 September 2014 Research

news image

Exotic complexes suggest route to synthetic feedstock

Computer simulations point to formamide as prebiotic intermediate in ‘Miller’ mixtures

16 September 2014 News and Analysis

news image

Electric field may have provided more than just energy for primordial chemistry

Most Commented

US genomics lead being lost to China

17 September 2014 News and Analysis

news image

NIH senior leaders are sounding the alarm bells, saying the US's pre-eminence in genomics research is under threat

The trouble with boycotts

29 August 2014 Critical Point

news image

Cutting academic ties with a censured state can do more harm than good, says Mark Peplow