One-pot synthesis and lubricity of fluorescent carbon dots applied on PCL-PEG-PCL hydrogel

This work presents a method for one-pot synthesis of N-doped nanometer-size carbon dots, which can be assembled with thermosensitive poly(ε-caprolactone)-poly(ethylene glycol)-poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL-PEG-PCL, PCEC) hydrogel to achieve slow-release lubricity. The typical property of this green production was studied by fourier transform infrared (FT-IR), X-ray diffraction (XRD), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and transmission electron microscope (TEM). The photoluminescence of composite PCEC/CDs hydrogel and its released solutions were characterized by ultraviolet spectrum, and the rheological properties were tested by rotary rheometer. Tribological performance of the released solution from composite PCEC/CDs hydrogel was obtained to compare with PBS and pure CDs solution. The experimental results reveal that the CDs contain the chemical groups of N-H, C–OH/C–O–C and –COOH, etc. In addition, the diameter of the CDs is in the range of 6~8 nm. The phase transition behavior of PCEC/CDs hydrogel can be still kept and its viscoelasticity hydrogel is improved by approximatively 7%. Furthermore, friction coefficient of the released solution from composite PCEC/CDs hydrogel decreases by about 70% than that of PBS. Besides, the wear condition can be improved by a lubricating transfer film formed by released CDs. This novel strategy for slow-release application is valuable for drug delivery and bio-tribology.