Highly Efficient Metal-Free Two-Dimensional Luminescent Melem Nanosheets for Bioimaging

Huibin Zheng, Zhengui Zhao, Jonathan B. Phan, Honglong Ning, Qianming Huang, Rongming Wang, Junying Zhang*, Wei Chen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Two-dimensional (2D) luminescent materials have received tremendous attention for their intrinsic properties and promising practical applications. Achieving 2D luminescent materials with high photoluminescence (PL) efficiency is still a great challenge. Here, ultrathin metal-free 2D luminescent nanosheets of 2,5,8-triamino-tri-s-triazine (melem) are synthesized through a facile liquid exfoliation process assisted by ultrasound. The as-obtained melem nanosheets distribute in the size range from a few nanometers to around 150 nm with a thickness of about 5 to 6 atomic layers. Melem nanosheets exhibit efficient blue emission with a PL efficiency as high as 77.09%, much higher than the heavily explored 2D luminescent g-C3N4 nanosheets. The high efficiency of melem nanosheets comes from the absence of atom vacancies and the low carrier mobility. Benefiting from the easy synthesis, good stability, low cell toxicity, and high efficiency, melem nanosheets are successfully applied as bioimaging materials on human breast cancer cells, requiring no extra treatments such as surface coating or functionalization. These metal-free 2D luminescent melem nanosheets hold great potential for various applications including bioimaging and other biorelated applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2145-2151
Number of pages7
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • 2D luminescent materials
  • bioimaging
  • luminescence
  • melem nanosheets
  • metal-free


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