ACS Omega, vol.7, pp.18840-18851, 2022 (SCI-Expanded)
© 2022 The Authors. Published by American Chemical Society.Carbon dots (CDs) are carbon-based fluorescent nanomaterials that are of interest in different research areas due to their low cost production and low toxicity. Considering their unique photophysical properties, hydrophobic/amphiphilic CDs are powerful alternatives to metal-based quantum dots in LED and photovoltaic cell designs. On the other hand, CDs possess a considerably high amount of surface defects that give rise to two significant drawbacks: (1) causing decrease in quantum yield (QY), a crucial drawback that limits their utilization in LEDs, and (2) affecting the efficiency of charge transfer, a significant factor that limits the use of CDs in photovoltaic cells. In this study, we synthesized highly luminescent, water-insoluble, slightly amphiphilic CDs by using a macrocyclic compound, calixpyrrole, for the first time in the literature. Calixpyrrole-derived CDs (CP-DOTs) were highly luminescent with a QY of over 60% and size of around 4-10 nm with graphitic structure. The high quantum yield of CP-DOTs indicated that they had less amount of surface defects. Furthermore, CP-DOTs were used as an additive in the active layer of organic solar cells (OSC). The photovoltaic parameters of OSCs improved upon addition of CDs. Our results indicated that calixpyrrole is an excellent carbon precursor to synthesize highly luminescent and water-insoluble carbon dots, and CDs derived from calixpyrrole are excellent candidates to improve optoelectronic devices.