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Biomass-derived Carbon Quantum Dots For Visible-Light-Induced Photocatalysis And Label-Free Detection Of Fe(III) And Ascorbic Acid

Gouri Sankar Das, Jong Pil Shim, Amit Bhatnagar, Kumud Malika Tripathi, TaeYoung Kim

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Abstract Visible-light-driven photocatalysts prepared using renewable resources are crucial but challenging to develop for the efficient degradation of organic pollutants, which is required to solve ever-increasing water deterioration issues. In this study, we report a visible-light-responsive photocatalyst for the efficient degradation of methylene blue (MB) as a model pollutant dye. Green-emissive carbon quantum dots (CQDs) were synthesized from pear juice via a facile, scalable, one-pot solvothermal process. The as-synthesized CQDs exhibit superior photocatalytic activity under visible-light irradiation owing to their efficient light absorption, electron transfer, and separation of photogenerated charge carriers, facilitating ~99.5% degradation of MB within 130 min. A possible mechanism for the photocatalysis is proposed on the basis of comprehensive active species trapping experiments. Furthermore, the CQDs were used in a specific sensitive assay for Fe(III) and ascorbic acid (AA), even with interference from other metal ions. The fluorescence emission of CQDs was “turned off” specifically upon binding of Fe(III) and “turned on” with AA. The prepared CQDs represent efficient photocatalysts and fluorescent probes that are not restricted by toxicity, cost, or lack of scalability.