Due to the prominent characteristics of carbon-based luminescent nanostructures (known colloquially as carbon dots), such as inexpensive precursors, excellent hydrophilicity, low toxicity, and intrinsic fluorescence, these nanomaterials are regarded as potential candidates to replace traditional quantum dots in some applications. As such, research in the field of carbon dots has been increasing in recent years. In this mini-review, we summarize recent progress in studies of multicolor carbon dots focusing on potential photoluminescence (PL) mechanisms, strategies for effective syntheses, and applications in ion/molecule and temperature sensing, light emitting diodes and high-resolution bioimaging techniques.
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© The Royal Society of Chemistry.