‘Autophagy’ and unique aerial oxygen harvesting properties exhibited by highly photocatalytic carbon quantum dots

Sanjit Mondal, C. P. Vinod, Ujjal K. Gautam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Plastic pollution is a serious threat to the environment as they are not bio-degradable. Herein using waste-polyethylene, we report two inter-related important findings. First that they can be converted economically and completely into highly photocatalytic carbon quantum-dots (CQDs) using H2O2 as a residue-free oxidant in an acid medium, and they have the ability to enrich a reaction medium with an extraordinary amount of molecular oxygen harvested from the air so that no separate oxygen source is needed while carrying out facile photocatalytic oxidation reactions. Second, when they are not performing any photocatalytic reaction, they exhibit self-sensitized photo-oxidation to convert themselves completely to CO2 in the presence of sunlight, a phenomenon that we term as ‘CQD-autophagy’ by drawing parallels to the death of useless-cells in the body. Such extinction from the reaction media is unique as no other material is known to do so and advantageous because the removal of carbon-dots from a solution is rather inefficient from an industry-viewpoint due to their high solubility. Instead, the inexpensive CQDs can be discarded casually with the notion that they will gradually get eliminated from the environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-27
Number of pages12
JournalCarbon
Volume181
DOIs
StatePublished - 30 Aug 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Carbon dots
  • Oxygen-enrichment
  • Photocatalytic oxidation
  • Self-sensitized photo-oxidation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science

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