Graphene quantum dots from chemistry to applications

P. Tian, L. Tang, K. S. Teng, S. P. Lau

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

342 Citations (Scopus)


Graphene quantum dots (GQDs) have been widely studied in recent years due to its unique structure-related properties, such as optical, electrical and optoelectrical properties. GQDs are considered new kind of quantum dots (QDs), as they are chemically and physically stable because of its intrinsic inert carbon property. Furthermore, GQDs are environmentally friendly due to its non-toxic and biologically inert properties, which have attracted worldwide interests from academic and industry. In this review, a number of GQDs preparation methods, such as hydrothermal method, microwave-assisted hydrothermal method, soft-template method, liquid exfoliation method, metal-catalyzed method and electron beam lithography method etc., are summarized. Their structural, morphological, chemical composition, optical, electrical and optoelectrical properties have been characterized and studied. A variety of elemental dopant, such as nitrogen, sulphur, chlorine, fluorine and potassium etc., have been doped into GQDs to diversify the functions of the material. The control of its size and shape has been realized by means of preparation parameters, such as synthesis temperature, growth time, source concentration and catalyst etc. As far as energy level engineering is concerned, the elemental doping has shown an introduction of energy level in GQDs which may tune the optical, electrical and optoelectrical properties of the GQDs. The applications of GQDs in biological imaging, optoelectrical detectors, solar cells, light emitting diodes, fluorescent agent, photocatalysis, and lithium ion battery are described. GQD composites, having optimized contents and properties, are also discussed to extend the applications of GQDs. Basic physical and chemical parameters of GQDs are summarized by tables in this review, which will provide readers useful information.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-258
Number of pages38
JournalMaterials Today Chemistry
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


  • Electrical properties
  • Graphene quantum dots
  • Nanostructured graphene
  • Optical properties
  • Optoelectronics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


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