Edge-enriched graphene quantum dots for enhanced photo-luminescence and supercapacitance
Graphene quantum dots (GQDs) with their edge-bound nanometer-size present distinctive properties owing to quantum confinement and edge effects. We report a facile ultrasonic approach with chemical activation using KOH to prepare activated GQDs or aGQDs enriched with both free and bound edges. Compared to GQDs, the aGQDs we synthesized had enhanced BET surface area by a factor of about six, the photoluminescence intensity by about four and half times and electro-capacitance by a factor of about two. Unlike their non-activated counterparts, the aGQDs having enhanced edge states emit enhanced intense blue luminescence and exhibit electrochemical double layer capacitance greater than that of graphene, activated or not. Apart from their use as part of electrodes in a supercapacitor, the superior luminescence of aGQDs holds potential for use in biomedical imaging and related optoelectronic applications.