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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Chemistry of the Colloidal Group II-VI Nanocrystal Synthesis


In the last two decades, the field of nanoscience and nanotechnology has witnessed tremendous advancement in the synthesis and application of group II-VI colloidal nanocrystals. The synthesis based on high temperature decomposition of organometallic precursors has become one of the most successful methods of making group II-VI colloidal nanocrystals. This method is first demonstrated by Bawendi and coworkers in 1993 to prepare cadmium chalcogenide colloidal quantum dots and later extended by others to prepare other group II-VI quantum dots as well as anisotropic shaped colloidal nanocrystals, such as nanorod and tetrapod. This dissertation focuses on the chemistry of this type of nanocrystal synthesis. The synthesis of group II-VI nanocrystals was studied by characterizing the molecular structures of the precursors and products and following their time evolution in the synthesis. Based on these results, a mechanism was proposed to account for the 2 reaction between the precursors that presumably produces monomer for the growth of nanocrystals. Theoretical study based on density functional theory calculations revealed the detailed free energy landscape of the precursor decomposition and monomerformation pathway. Based on the proposed reaction mechanism, a new synthetic method was designed that uses water as a novel reagent to control the diameter and the aspect ratio of CdSe and CdS nanorods.

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