DOI: 10.1002/macp.202300407 ISSN: 1022-1352

A Flexible and Free‐Standing Photonic Crystal‐Hydrogel Film for Enhanced Fluorescence from Nitrogen Doped Carbon Dots

Safna Saif, Karthika Sankar, Sree Sanker Sivasankaran Subhadra, Madhusoodanan Kottarathil Naduvil, Priya Rose Thankamani
  • Materials Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Condensed Matter Physics


Enhancement of fluorescence emission in a flexible and free‐standing fluorescing film is a key requirement for sensing platforms with augmented sensitivity. In this context, a study on the enhanced fluorescence emission from nitrogen‐doped carbon dots (NCDs) embedded on a flexible free‐standing photonic crystal hydrogel film prepared via photopolymerization, is presented. The composite structure utilizes the photonic crystal enhanced fluorescence (PCEF) technique and incorporates a self‐assembled 3D photonic crystal (3D PC)  onto a photopolymerizable hydrogel matrix containing the NCDs. The 3D PC template is prepared through vertical deposition self‐assembly using monodisperse polystyrene (PS) spheres. By leveraging the enhanced excitation and extraction effect in a PC‐fluorophore composite, the authors’ structure exhibits a fourfold enhancement in fluorescence emission compared to the control sample. The relative positioning of the photonic stopband with the excitation and emission spectra of the fluorophore (NCDs) is thoroughly studied by selecting four different 3D PCs with varied lattice parameters. In addition, the hydrogel matrix offers improved photostability and enhanced lifetime for the NCDs. This structure can be further modified into an efficient sensor through appropriate functionalization.

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