Annealing of sulfide stabilized colloidal semiconductor nanocrystals†
The effect of thermal annealing on layers of CuInS2 nanocrystals (NCs) stabilized with (NH4)2S was investigated using in situ transmission electron microscopy (TEM), in situ X-ray diffraction (XRD), thermogravimetric analysis combined with mass spectrometry (TGA-MS) and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). It is shown that these inorganic, chalcogen containing ligands inhibit NC sintering up to 450 °C in an inert atmosphere. On the other hand, sintering can be promoted by annealing in hydrogen gas. A similar behavior is found with Cu2ZnSnSe4 and CdSe NCs. We attribute the inhibited sintering to the oxidation of the S2− originally stabilizing the NCs to sulfite or sulfate moieties, where oxidation is possible either by exposure of the films to air or by thermal decomposition of residual solvent molecules present in the film under inert conditions.