Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Physics (PhD)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Physics

Advisor 1

Yoke Khin Yap

Advisor 2

Dongyan Zhang

Committee Member 1

John Jaszczak

Committee Member 2

Paul Bergstrom

Committee Member 3

Ranjit Pati


Boron nitride quantum dots (BNQDs) have gained increasing attention for their versatile fluorescent, optoelectronic, chemical, and biochemical properties. During the past few years, significant progress has been demonstrated, started from theoretical modeling to actual application. Many interesting properties and applications have been reported, such as excitation-dependent emission (and in some cases, non-excitation dependent), chemical functionalization, bioimaging, phototherapy, photocatalysis, chemical, and biological sensing. An overview of these early-stage research development of BNQDs will be discussed in this dissertation. Next, the origin of excitation-dependent fluorescence from BNQDs synthesized in an organic solvent is explored and explained with the support of theoretical modeling. Also, we have developed a series of calibration plots by using UV-Vis and fluorescent spectroscopy for the quantification of BNQDs. We demonstrated that these calibration plots are more than 90% accurate for estimating the concentration of BNQDs in solutions. Finally, the use of van der Waals QDs including BNQDs and MoS2 in thin films solar cells is explored. Our ZnO-based solar cell devices allow us to obtain a record high efficiency of 14.7% using commercial CdSe/ZnS QDs. Preliminary photovoltaic data based on van der Waals QDs will be discussed.

Available for download on Monday, April 18, 2022