Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors


Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > Putting more science into the art of making nanocrystals

Abstract:
Preparing semiconductor quantum dots is sometimes more of a black art than a science. That presents an obstacle to further progress in, for example, creating better solar cells or lighting devices, where quantum dots offer unique advantages that would be particularly useful if they could be used as basic building blocks for constructing larger nanoscale architectures.

Putting more science into the art of making nanocrystals

Columbia, SC | Posted on July 11th, 2013

Andrew Greytak, a chemist in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of South Carolina, is leading a research team that's making the process of synthesizing quantum dots much more systematic. His group just published a paper in Chemistry of Materials detailing an effective new method for purifying CdSe nanocrystals with well-defined surface properties.

Their process uses gel-permeation chromatography (GPC) to separate quantum dots from small-molecule impurities, and the team went further in characterizing the nanocrystals by a variety of analytical methods. A comparison of their purified quantum dots with those purified by the traditional method of multiple solvation and precipitation cycles underscored the utility of the new method in preparing uniform semiconductor nanocrystals highly amenable to further synthetic manipulation.

Quantum dots

Quantum dots, which are nanocrystals with diameters in the range of 5-10 nanometers, have optical and other physical properties different from those of larger crystals. The reduced size allows them to absorb and emit different colors than bulk quantities of the same compound because of quantum mechanical effects; they also have very large surface-to-volume ratios and can be sensitive to surface treatments.

Greytak's laboratory typically prepares quantum dots in hydrophobic solvents (such as 1-octadecene), so they come out "capped" with hydrophobic molecules and dissolve readily in nonpolar solvents. "The way the process works, you always have a significant amount of unreacted starting material, high-boiling solvents and extra surfactants in there that are important to the synthesis," said Greytak. "But once the synthesis is complete, they're impurities that need to be removed."

The historic method of quantum dot purification is cycles of solvation, precipitation (such as with alcohol), decanting of impurities and re-solvation. Although the method has been in use for some 20 years, it has a fundamental shortcoming.

"With the precipitation and redissolution process, it's not actually doing the separation on the basis of the size of the particle, it's doing it on the basis of the solubility," said Greytak. "So if you have impurities that have solubility qualities similar to those of the particle, they aren't removed."

Gel-permeation chromatography

Greytak directed his team, which included graduate students Yi Shen, Megan Gee and Rui Tan, in developing GPC as a highly effective alternative. A size-exclusion technique, GPC separates chemical species according to molecular weight and is commonly used with macromolecules.

Compared with materials prepared through the precipitation and re-solvation process, the GPC-purified quantum dots had better stability at high temperature. Moreover, a series of NMR measurements assisted by USC research associate professor Perry Pellechia indicated that the GPC method was much more effective in removing weakly adsorbed ligands from the quantum dot surface.

Carrying a synthetic process forward

The team further examined the suitability of the quantum dots for further synthetic manipulation. Again, the GPC-purified products were superior, both in CdS shell growth on CdSe quantum dots as well as ligand exchange of cysteine on CdSe/CdxZn1-xS quantum dots.

Greytak sees the method as a fundamental step forward in being able to further manipulate quantum dots, whether in constructing larger architectures or asserting control over how the nanocrystal colloids behave in solution.

"What we like to say is that we're developing a sequential, preparative chemistry for semiconductor nanocrystals," said Greytak. "In most synthetic chemistry, you have a starting material, you do a reaction, and you proceed through a series of intermediates with well-defined structures that can be isolated. For a nanomaterial, it's much more difficult, because we're not making molecules, we're making a population of particles that has, let's say, a radius of two nanometers. They aren't all identical, and achieving a consistent product has been challenging, both in terms of how to isolate it and characterize it.

"So we're really working toward being able to characterize a sample, with, say NMR and thermogravimetric analysis, and being able to really predict with confidence how it's going to react in a subsequent step."

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Steven Powell

803-777-1923

Copyright © University of South Carolina

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Texas A&M Chemist Says Trapped Electrons To Blame For Lack Of Battery Efficiency: Forget mousetraps — today’s scientists will get the cheese if they manage to build a better battery June 28th, 2016

Building a smart cardiac patch: 'Bionic' cardiac patch could one day monitor and respond to cardiac problems June 28th, 2016

New, better way to build circuits for world's first useful quantum computers June 28th, 2016

Yale researchers’ technology turns wasted heat into power June 27th, 2016

Chemistry

Nanoscientists develop the 'ultimate discovery tool': Rapid discovery power is similar to what gene chips offer biology June 25th, 2016

Quantum calculations broaden the understanding of crystal catalysts: Quantum mechanics and a supercomputer help scientists to identify the position of atoms on the surface of rutile June 22nd, 2016

Droplets finally all the same size -- in a nanodroplet library June 20th, 2016

Nano 'hall of mirrors' causes molecules to mix with light June 14th, 2016

Display technology/LEDs/SS Lighting/OLEDs

GraphExeter illuminates bright new future for flexible lighting devices June 23rd, 2016

Discoveries

Texas A&M Chemist Says Trapped Electrons To Blame For Lack Of Battery Efficiency: Forget mousetraps — today’s scientists will get the cheese if they manage to build a better battery June 28th, 2016

Building a smart cardiac patch: 'Bionic' cardiac patch could one day monitor and respond to cardiac problems June 28th, 2016

New, better way to build circuits for world's first useful quantum computers June 28th, 2016

Yale researchers’ technology turns wasted heat into power June 27th, 2016

Announcements

Texas A&M Chemist Says Trapped Electrons To Blame For Lack Of Battery Efficiency: Forget mousetraps — today’s scientists will get the cheese if they manage to build a better battery June 28th, 2016

Building a smart cardiac patch: 'Bionic' cardiac patch could one day monitor and respond to cardiac problems June 28th, 2016

New, better way to build circuits for world's first useful quantum computers June 28th, 2016

Yale researchers’ technology turns wasted heat into power June 27th, 2016

Energy

Yale researchers’ technology turns wasted heat into power June 27th, 2016

Nanoscientists develop the 'ultimate discovery tool': Rapid discovery power is similar to what gene chips offer biology June 25th, 2016

Researchers discover new chemical sensing technique: Technique allows sharper detail -- and more information -- with near infrared light June 24th, 2016

FEI and University of Liverpool Announce QEMSCAN Research Initiative: University of Liverpool will utilize FEI’s QEMSCAN technology to gain a better insight into oil and gas reserves & potentially change the approach to evaluating them June 22nd, 2016

Quantum Dots/Rods

A new form of hybrid photodetectors with quantum dots and graphene June 19th, 2016

Supercrystals with new architecture can enhance drug synthesis May 24th, 2016

ORNL demonstrates large-scale technique to produce quantum dots May 21st, 2016

First single-enzyme method to produce quantum dots revealed: Biological manufacturing process, pioneered by three Lehigh University engineers, produces equivalent quantum dots to those made chemically--but in a much greener, cheaper way May 9th, 2016

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







Car Brands
Buy website traffic