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Issue 16, 2014
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Synthesis and properties of ZnTe and ZnTe/ZnS core/shell semiconductor nanocrystals

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Abstract

We report the synthesis of spherical ZnTe nanocrystals and the successive coating with a ZnS shell to afford core/shell quantum dots. These nanocrystals can represent alternatives to cadmium-based quantum dots but their preparation and properties are challenging and relatively unexplored. The effect of various synthetic parameters on the reaction outcome was investigated, and the resulting nanocrystals were characterized by TEM, EDX, XPS, and spectroscopic measurements. The optical data indicate that these core/shell quantum dots belong to type I, i.e., both the electron and the hole are confined within the ZnTe core. Both the ZnTe core and ZnTe/ZnS core/shell quantum dot samples absorb in the visible region and are not luminescent. The ZnS shell preserves the optical properties of the core and improves the chemical and photochemical stability of the nanoparticles in air equilibrated solution, whereas they appear to be quite fragile in the solid state. XPS results have evidenced the distinct nature of core and core/shell QDs, confirming the formation of QDs with shells of different thicknesses and their evolution due to oxidation upon air exposure. Anodic photocurrent generation was observed when an ITO electrode functionalized with ZnTe/ZnS nanocrystals was irradiated in the visible region in a photoelectrochemical cell, indicating that the quantum dots perform spectral sensitization of the electron injection into the ITO electrode. Conversely, cathodic photocurrent generation was not observed; hence, the QD-modified electrode performs electrical rectification under a photon energy input.

Graphical abstract: Synthesis and properties of ZnTe and ZnTe/ZnS core/shell semiconductor nanocrystals

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Publication details

The article was received on 03 Dec 2013, accepted on 24 Jan 2014 and first published on 27 Jan 2014


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C3TC32385D
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Citation: J. Mater. Chem. C, 2014,2, 2877-2886
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY-NC license
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    Synthesis and properties of ZnTe and ZnTe/ZnS core/shell semiconductor nanocrystals

    C. Lincheneau, M. Amelia, M. Oszajca, A. Boccia, F. D'Orazi, M. Madrigale, R. Zanoni, R. Mazzaro, L. Ortolani, V. Morandi, S. Silvi, K. Szaciłowski and A. Credi, J. Mater. Chem. C, 2014, 2, 2877
    DOI: 10.1039/C3TC32385D

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