Core-Shell Functionalised Carbon Nanoparticles
: Synthesis, Electrochemistry, and Fluorescence

  • Katherine Lawrence

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


Carbon nanoparticles constitute a class of important materials that have uses in many different fields. This thesis focuses on the synthesis and surface modification of different carbon nanoparticles and each novel nanomaterial is demonstrated to have a specific sensing application.Carbon blacks play a significant role in the research that is presented herein. Emperor 2000, a commercial bulk-produced carbon black available from Cabot Corporation, is the starting material for many of the investigations. The surface of Emperor 2000 is shown to be susceptible to physisorption, through π-π stacking. These interactions are exploited to append pyrene-based compounds onto the surface of the carbon nanoparticles. This methodology results in carbon nanoparticles with surface boronic acid functionality that is demonstrated to be affective in the electrochemical detection of catecholic caffeic acid.Emperor 2000 carbon nanoparticles are commercially produced with phenylsulphonic acid functional groups on the surface. This functionality is subjected to synthetic methods to obtain carbon nanoparticles with extremely hydrohphobic character, which are demonstrated as important substrates for probing lipophilic redox systems and lipid character under different experimental conditions.Fluorescent carbon nanodots (C-dots) are another important form of carbon nanoparticle. Herein, the facile synthesis of C-dots that possess intrinsic pyridine functionality is described. These nanodots exhibit two-photon fluorescence that is exhibited both in solution and in HeLa cells. The nanodots are demonstrated to have the potential to be developed into nanomedicines and biocompatible scaffolds for new drug delivery mechanisms.These straightforward synthesis, modification, and application methods demonstrate the effectiveness and the versatility of carbon nanoparticles. This class of nanomaterial is generally outclassed by modern and more fashionable carbon nanotubes and graphene-based systems. However, carbon nanoparticles are more cost effective and readily available carbon-based nanomaterials that can be used for a wide range of applications.
Date of Award19 Jun 2013
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorFrank Marken (Supervisor) & Tony James (Supervisor)


  • fluorescence
  • electrochemistry
  • carbon
  • nanoparticles

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