Carbon quantum dots (CQDs) have been intensively investigated due to their interesting electrochemical and photoluminescent properties. Here, we report a novel method for large-scale preparation of heavy doped CQDs with tunable photoluminescence. In the present synthetic process, the carbon nanoparticles from Chinese ink were oxidized and cut simultaneously using a mature process to obtain oxidized-CQDs as precursors, and then the heteroatom (N, S or Se) doped CQDs were obtained by a one-step hydrothermal reduction and in situ doping treatment. The heavy doped CQDs are just 1-6 nm size, and have improved photoluminescence with different emission wavelengths, higher quantum yield, longer lifetime and good photostability. Further experiments suggested that these N and S doped CQDs were very sensitive for the detection of Cu2+ and Hg2+, respectively.
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