Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Independent control of the shape and composition of ionic nanocrystals through sequential cation exchange reactions
- Author(s): Luther, Joseph Matthew
- et al.
Size- and shape-controlled nanocrystal growth is intensely researched for applications including electro-optic, catalytic, and medical devices. Chemical transformations such as cation exchange overcome the limitation of traditional colloidal synthesis, where the nanocrystal shape often reflects the inherent symmetry of the underlying lattice. Here we show that nanocrystals, with established synthetic protocols for high monodispersity, can be templates for independent composition control. Specifically, controlled interconversion between wurtzite CdS, chalcocite Cu2S, and rock salt PbS occurs while preserving the anisotropic dimensions unique to the as-synthesized materials. Sequential exchange reactions between the three sulfide compositions are driven by the disparate solubilites of the metal ion exchange pair in specific coordinating molecules. Starting with CdS, highly anisotropic PbS nanorods are created, which serve as an important material for studying strong 2-dimensional quantum confinement, as well as for optoelectronic applications. Furthermore, interesting nanoheterostructures of CdS|PbS are obtained by precise control over ion insertion and removal.