News Release

Modulation to sonoluminescence achieved in the presence of carbon nano-dots in water

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Hefei Institutes of Physical Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Modulation to Sonoluminescence Achieved in the Presence of Carbon Nano-dots in Water

image: Figure. A schematic diagram of chain-like oxidation process to CNDs under the effect of hydroxyl radical generated by SL. In the presence of CNDs, the color of SL change from UV-blue to orange view more 

Credit: SONG Dan

Recently, the researchers led by Prof. XU Wen from Institute of Solid State Physics, Hefei Institutes of Physical Science (HFIPS), Chinese Academy of Sciences, along with their collaborators from Chongqing Medical University, conducted an investigation into the influence of carbon nanodots (CNDs) on sonoluminescence (SL) effect, and found that the color of sonoluminescence driven by intense ultrasound can be altered from UV-blue in water into orange by the presence of CNDs in water.

"It shows bright orange color,” said XU, who led the team, “and it can even be seen by naked eyes.”

Under the action of the focused intense ultrasound, if the negative acoustic pressure is larger than the cavitation threshold of a liquid, the cavitation takes place and the bubbles can be induced in the liquid.These bubbles undergo slow expansion and rapid collapse. At the moment of bubble collapse, light flashes can be generated and observed, which is known as the SL. Hydroxyl radicals play an important role in the SL effect in water.

In this work, the modulation was so strong that the color of SL could be altered significantly. They measured the SL spectra and pulses in water as well as in CND aqueous solution, and examined the changes taken place to CNDs after SL experiment. "Thanks to the coupling of the C-based bonds on CNDs with free hydroxyl radicals generated during the cavitation and SL processes, we had the modulation," said XU, "these findings provided the experimental evidence for the understanding of the mechanism of the SL effect."

On the other hand, ultrasonic treatment is a common technique applied for the synthesis of carbon nanomaterials. This time, researchers found that the intense ultrasound brought both physical and chemical effects on CNDs. Physically, intense ultrasound could reduce the size and result in a better crystallization of the carbon core along with a more uniformed dispersion of CNDs. Chemically, hydroxyl radical generated by the cavitation and SL could lead to chain-like oxidation reactions with the functional groups on CNDs to form more carboxyl groups. These results are helpful for designing, synthesizing and modulating the fluorescent carbon dots.


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