Ultrafast Synthesis Of Carbon Quantum Dots From Fenugreek Seeds Using Microwave Plasma Enhanced Decomposition: Application Of C-QDs To Grow Fluorescent Protein Crystals
Herein, we present the rapid synthesis of mono-dispersed carbon quantum dots (C-QDs) via a single-step microwave plasma-enhanced decomposition (MPED) process. Highly-crystalline C-QDs were synthesized in a matter of 5 min using the fenugreek seeds as a sustainable carbon source. It is the first report, to the best of our knowledge, where C-QDs were synthesized using MPED via natural carbon precursor. Synthesis of C-QDs requires no external temperature other than hydrogen (H2) plasma. Plasma containing the high-energy electrons and activated hydrogen ions predominantly provide the required energy directly into the reaction volume, thus maximizing the atom economy. C-QDs shows excellent Photoluminescence (PL) activity along with the dual-mode of excitation-dependent PL emission (blue and redshift). We investigate the reason behind the dual-mode of excitation-dependent PL. To prove the efficacy of the MPED process, C-QDs were also derived from fenugreek seeds using the traditional synthesis process, highlighting their respective size-distribution, crystallinity, quantum yield, and PL. Notably, C-QDs synthesis via MPED was 97.2% faster than the traditional thermal decomposition process. To the best of our knowledge, the present methodology to synthesize C-QDs via natural source employing MPED is three times faster and far more energy-efficient than reported so far. Additionally, the application of C-QDs to produce the florescent lysozyme protein crystals “hybrid bio-nano crystals” is also discussed. Such a guest–host strategy can be exploited to develop diverse and complex "bio-nano systems". The florescent lysozyme protein crystals could provide a platform for the development of novel next-generation polychrome luminescent crystals.