This review covers the recent advances of carbon dots for versatile energy-oriented applications.
The emergence of carbon dots (CDs) has opened up an exciting new field in the science and technology of carbon nanomaterials and has attracted increasing interest in recent years. Due to their diverse physicochemical properties and favourable attributes, such as quantum confinement effects and abundant surface defects, CDs and their derived hybrids have shown exciting and indispensable prospects in the energy conversion and storage fields. Considering the latest developments, in this review, we comprehensively summarize the classification and structure of CDs. Three strategies for structural engineering of CDs are presented and analyzed, in terms of the tuning of size and crystallinity, and the methodologies for surface modification and heteroatom doping, with a focus on the relationship among the synthesis methods, structure and properties of the concerned CDs. More importantly, the recent advances in energy-oriented applications of CDs, including photo- and electro-catalysis, light-emitting diodes, photovoltaic cells, lithium/sodium ion batteries and supercapacitors, will be systematically highlighted. Finally, we discuss and outline the remaining major challenges and opportunities for CDs in the future.