Bandgap Engineering of Coal-Derived Graphene Quantum Dots

Bandgaps of photoluminescent graphene quantum dots (GQDs) synthesized from anthracite have been engineered by controlling the size of GQDs in two ways: either chemical oxidative treatment and separation by cross-flow ultrafiltration, or by a facile one-step chemical synthesis using successively higher temperatures to render smaller GQDs. Using these methods, GQDs were synthesized with tailored sizes and bandgaps. The GQDs emit light from blue-green (2.9 eV) to orange-red (2.05 eV), depending on size, functionalities and defects. These findings provide a deeper insight into the nature of coal-derived GQDs and demonstrate a scalable method for production of GQDs with the desired bandgaps.