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Structure/Property Relations in “Giant” Semiconductor Nanocrystals: Opportunities in Photonics and Electronics

Semiconductor nanocrystals exhibit size-tunable absorption and emission ranging from the ultraviolet (UV) to the near-infrared (NIR) spectral range, high absorption coefficient, and high photoluminescence quantum yield. Effective surface passivation of these so-called quantum dots (QDs) may be achieved by growing a shell of another semiconductor material. The resulting core/shell QDs can be considered as a model system to study and optimize structure/property relations. A special case consists in growing thick shells (1.5 up to few tens of nanometers) to produce “giant” QDs (g-QDs). Tailoring the chemical composition and structure of CdSe/CdS and PbS/CdS g-QDs is a promising approach to widen the spectral separation of absorption and emission spectra (i.e., the Stokes shift), improve the isolation of photogenerated carriers from surface defects and enhance charge carrier lifetime and mobility. However, most stable systems are limited by a thick CdS shell, which strongly absorbs radiation below 500 nm, covering the UV and part of the visible range. Modification of the interfacial region between the core and shell of g-QDs or tuning their doping with narrow band gap semiconductors are effective approaches to circumvent this challenge. In addition, the synthesis of g-QDs composed of environmentally friendly elements (e.g., CuInSe2/CuInS2) represents an alternative to extend their absorption into the NIR range. Additionally, the band gap and band alignment of g-QDs can be engineered by proper selection of the constituents according to their band edge positions and by tuning their stoichiometry during wet chemical synthesis. In most cases, the quasi-type II localization regime of electrons and holes is achieved. In this type of g-QDs, electrons can leak into the shell region, while the holes remain confined within the core region. This electron–hole spatial distribution is advantageous for optoelectronic devices, resulting in efficient electron–hole separation while maintaining good stability.

This Account provides an overview of emerging engineering strategies that can be adopted to optimize structure/property relations in colloidal g-QDs for efficient photon management or charge separation/transfer. In particular, we focus on our recent contributions to this rapidly expanding field of research. We summarize the design and synthesis of a variety of colloidal g-QDs with the aim of tuning the optical properties, such as absorption/emission in a wide region of the solar spectrum, which allows enlargement of their Stokes shift. We also describe the band alignment within these systems, charge carrier dynamics, and charge transfer from g-QDs into semiconducting oxides. We show how these tailored g-QDs may be used as active components in luminescent solar concentrators, photoelectrochemical cells for hydrogen generation, QD-sensitized solar cells and optical nanothermometers. In each case, we aim at providing insights on structure/property relationships and on how to optimize them toward improving device performance. Finally, we describe perspectives for future work, sketching new directions and opportunities in this field of research at the intersection between chemistry, physics, materials science and engineering.

http://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.accounts.7b00467

发布日期:2017/12/26 发布者:网站管理员 点击数:149