Colloidal nano-materials, such as quantum dots (QDs) have been applied to light-conversion nano-phosphors due to their unique tunable emission. However, most of the QDs involve toxic elements and are synthesized in a hazardous solvent. In addition, conventional QD nano-phosphors with a small Stokes shift suffered from reabsorption losses and aggregation-induced quenching in the solid state. Here, we demonstrate a facile, matrix-free method to prepare eco-friendly nano-phosphors with a large Stokes shift based on aqueous thiolate-stabilized gold nanoclusters (GSH-AuNCs) with simple surface modifications. Our method is just to drop GSH-AuNCs solution on the aluminum foil and then surface-modified AuNCs (Al-GSH-AuNCs) can be spontaneously precipitated out of the aqueous solution. Compared with pristine GSH-AuNCs in solution, the Al-GSH-AuNCs exhibit enhanced solid-state PL quantum yields, lengthened PL lifetime, and spectral blue shift, which can be attributed to the aggregation-induced emission enhancement facilitated by surface modifications. Such surface-treatment induced aggregation of AuNCs can restrict the surface-ligand motion, leading to the enhancement of PL properties in the solid state. In addition, the Al-GSH-AuNCs nano-phosphors with a large Stokes shift can mitigate the aggregation-induced PL quenching and reabsorption losses, which would be potential candidates for “green” nano-phosphors.
- Aggregation-induced PL quenching
- Gold nano-clusters
- Solid-state nano-phosphors
- Stokes shift