Energy Transfer Induced by Carbon Quantum Dots in Porous Zinc Oxide Nanocomposite Films

A one-pot approach making use of a zinc oxide sol precursor and carbon quantum dots, together with a partially fluorinated block copolymer as templating agent, has been used to synthesize a porous matrix characterized by interesting energy transfer properties. The choice of the fluorinated surfactant for inducing the porosity into the inorganic matrix has allowed an easy removal of the templating agent at low temperature, preserving at the same time the functional properties of the carbon quantum dots. The resulting nanocomposite films have been characterized by steady-state 3D mapping that has evidenced a complex behavior as a function of the carbon quantum dots concentration. In particular, the luminescence bands of the zinc oxide matrix appear to be modulated by the broad emission of the carbon quantum dots, which depends on their aggregation state. These results can be thus considered as a step further toward the fine-tuning of the luminescence properties provided by zinc oxide-based nanocomposites as a result of a doping effect due to the presence of carbon quantum dots.