Photoluminescence of carbon nanodots: Dipole emission centers and electron-phonon coupling

Siddharth Ghosh, Anna M. Chizhik, Narain Karedla, Mariia O. Dekaliuk, Ingo Gregor, Henning Schuhmann, Michael Seibt, Kai Bodensiek, Iwan A T Schaap, Olaf Schulz, Alexander P. Demchenko, Jörg Enderlein*, Alexey I. Chizhik

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

173 Citations (Scopus)


Inorganic carbon nanomaterials, also called carbon nanodots, exhibit a strong photoluminescence with unusual properties and, thus, have been the focus of intense research. Nonetheless, the origin of their photoluminescence is still unclear and the subject of scientific debates. Here, we present a single particle comprehensive study of carbon nanodot photoluminescence, which combines emission and lifetime spectroscopy, defocused emission dipole imaging, azimuthally polarized excitation dipole scanning, nanocavity-based quantum yield measurements, high resolution transmission electron microscopy, and atomic force microscopy. We find that photoluminescent carbon nanodots behave as electric dipoles, both in absorption and emission, and that their emission originates from the recombination of photogenerated charges on defect centers involving a strong coupling between the electronic transition and collective vibrations of the lattice structure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5656-5661
Number of pages6
JournalNano Letters
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 8 Oct 2014


  • carbon nanodots
  • electron-phonon coupling
  • fluorescence
  • nanoparticles
  • nanotechnology
  • transition dipole moment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanical Engineering


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