Probing organic ligands and their binding schemes on nanocrystals by mass spectrometric and FT-IR spectroscopic imaging†
We report an analysis method to identify conjugated ligands and their binding states on semiconductor nanocrystals based on their molecular information. Surface science techniques, such as time-of-flight secondary-ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) and FT-IR spectroscopy, are adopted based on the micro-aggregated sampling method. Typical trioctylphosphine oxide-based synthesis methods of CdSe/ZnS quantum dots (QDs) have been criticized because of the peculiar effects of impurities on the synthesis processes. Because the ToF-SIMS technique provides molecular composition evidence on the existence of certain ligands, we were able to clearly identify n-octylphosphonic acid (OPA) as a surface ligand on CdSe/ZnS QDs. Furthermore, the complementary use of the ToF-SIMS technique with the FT-IR technique could reveal the OPA ligands’ binding state as bidentate complexes.