3D superstructures with an orthorhombic lattice assembled by colloidal PbS quantum dots†
We report a new type of metamaterial comprising a highly ordered 3D network of 3–7 nm lead sulfide quantum dots self-assembled in an organic matrix formed by amphiphilic ligands (oleic acid molecules). The obtained 3D superstructures possess an orthorhombic lattice with the distance between the nanocrystals as large as 10–40 nm. Analysis of self-assembly and destruction of the superstructures in time performed by a SAXS technique shows that their morphology depends on the quantity of amphiphilic ligands and width of the quantum dot size and its distribution. Formation of the superstructures is discussed in terms of a model describing the lyotropic crystal formation by micelles from three-phase mixtures. The results show that the organic molecules possessing surfactant properties and capable of forming micelles with nanoparticles as a micelle core can be utilized as building blocks for the creation of novel metamaterials based on a highly ordered 3D network of semiconductors, metals or magnetic nanoparticles.