2 research outputs found

    Quantum Yield Regeneration: Influence of Neutral Ligand Binding on Photophysical Properties in Colloidal Core/Shell Quantum Dots

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    This article describes an experiment designed to identify the role of specific molecular ligands in maintaining the high photoluminescence (PL) quantum yield (QY) observed in as-synthesized CdSe/CdZnS and CdSe/CdS quantum dots (QDs). Although it has been possible for many years to prepare core/shell quantum dots with near-unity quantum yield through high-temperature colloidal synthesis, purification of such colloidal particles is frequently accompanied by a reduction in quantum yield. Here, a recently established gel permeation chromatography (GPC) technique is used to remove weakly associated ligands without a change in solvent: a decrease in ensemble QY and average PL lifetime is observed. Minor components of the initial mixture that were removed by GPC are then added separately to purified QD samples to determine whether reintroduction of these components can restore the photophysical properties of the initial sample. We show that among these putative ligands trioctylphosphine and cadmium oleate can regenerate the initial high QY of all samples, but only the “L-type” ligands (trioctyphosphine and oleylamine) can restore the QY without changing the shapes of the optical spectra. On the basis of the PL decay analysis, we confirm that quenching in GPC-purified samples and regeneration in ligand-introduced samples are associated chiefly with changes in the relative population fraction of QDs with different decay rates. The reversibility of the QY regeneration process has also been studied; the introduction and removal of trioctylphosphine and oleylamine tend to be reversible, while cadmium oleate is not. Finally, isothermal titration calorimetry has been used to study the relationship between the binding strength of the neutral ligands to the surface and photophysical property changes in QD samples to which they are added

    Purification of Quantum Dots by Gel Permeation Chromatography and the Effect of Excess Ligands on Shell Growth and Ligand Exchange

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    This article describes the use of gel permeation chromatography (GPC) as a means to separate natively capped colloidal CdSe and CdSe/Cd<sub><i>x</i></sub>Zn<sub>1–<i>x</i></sub>S quantum dots (QDs) from small-molecule impurities in hydrophobic solvents. A range of analysis techniques, including <sup>1</sup>H NMR, diffusion-ordered NMR analysis (DOSY), and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) have been used to compare the nature and quantities of ligands adsorbed on the QDs after GPC and after alternative purification methods. We show that the GPC purified samples display lower ligand-to-QD ratio (135 oleate substituents per nanocrystal for CdSe QDs with lowest-energy absorption peak at 534 nm) than what we can achieve by the multiple precipitation/redissolution method, and the GPC purified samples are stable at both room temperature and high temperature (180–200 °C for CdSe QDs). The achievement of an efficient and highly reproducible method for the preparation of clean QD samples allowed us to test whether impurities that reside in samples prepared by standard purification methods have a significant effect on further surface modification reactions. We found that the reactivity of CdSe QDs toward precursors for CdS shell growth was profoundly affected by the presence of excess ligands in impure QD samples prepared by multiple precipitations and that the removal of excess ligands and impurities significantly improved the speed and reliability by which water-soluble CdSe/Cd<sub><i>x</i></sub>Zn<sub>1–<i>x</i></sub>S QDs could be prepared by ligand exchange with cysteine. GPC purification provides a preparative-scale, consistent, size-based purification of QDs without perturbing the solvent environment and as such could serve as the basis for advanced syntheses and enable detailed measurements of QD surface chemical properties