Understanding the structure, bonding and reactions of nanocrystalline semiconductors: a novel high-resolution instrumental method of solid-state synchronous luminescence spectroscopy
This Perspective Article describes the recent advancements in studies of nanocrystalline metal oxides using a novel ultra-high resolution method, solid-state synchronous luminescence spectroscopy (SS-SLS). Semiconductors notably include titanium dioxide and these studies shed light on the detailed electronic structure, composition, and their reactions. First, we critically discuss the limitations of the major existing non-spectroscopic and spectroscopic methods of characterization of electronic structure of nanocrystalline semiconductors and insulators. Second, we describe the foundations and the setup of SS-SLS as an enhanced-resolution, facile, non-contact, non-destructive, and highly capable method of studies of nanomaterials. Third, the following insights are featured which are obtained by SS-SLS, but are not available by other methods: (a) detection of traps of electric charge (specific mid-gap states); (b) discrimination between “surface” and “bulk” sites; (c) in situ studies of composite nanomaterials and mechanisms of reactions, (d) the derivative SS-SLS for accurate determination of energies of absorption and emission. The specific advantages of SS-SLS versus other methods and in direct comparison with “conventional” photoluminescence spectroscopy are highlighted. Finally, new opportunities and challenges of SS-SLS are presented. SS-SLS is an advanced spectroscopic method with significant potential to aid academia and industry in studies of chemo-sensing, photocatalysis, optoelectronic materials, applied surface science, development of instrumental analysis, and studies of mechanisms of surface and “bulk” chemical reactions.