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Graphene Quantum Dots With High Yield And High Quality Synthesized From Low Cost Precursor Of Aphanitic Graphite

Shuling Shen, Junjie Wang, Zhujun Wu, Zheng Du, Zhihong Tang, Junhe Yang

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It is difficult to keep the balance of high quality and high yield for graphene quantum dots (GQDs). Because the quality is uncontrollable during cutting large 2D nanosheets to small 0D nanodots by top-down methods and the yield is low for GQDs with high quality obtained from bottom-up strategy. Here, aphanitic graphite (AG), a low-cost graphite contains a large amount of small graphite nanocrystals with size of about 10 nm is used as the precursor of graphene oxide quantum dots (GO-QDs) for the first time. GO-QDs with high yield and high quality were successfully obtained directly by liquid phase exfoliating AG without high strength cutting. The yield of these GO-QDs can reach up to 40 wt. %, much higher than that obtained from flake graphite (FG) precursor (less than 10 wt. %). The size of GO-QDs can be controlled in 2–10 nm. The average thickness of GO-QDs is about 3 nm, less than 3 layer of graphene sheet. Graphene quantum dots (GQDs) with different surface properties can be easily obtained by simple hydrothermal treatment of GO-QDs, which can be used as highly efficient fluorescent probe. Developing AG as precursor for GQDs offers a way to produce GQDs in a low-cost, highly effective and scalable manner.