Nanocrystal engineering of noble metals and metal chalcogenides: controlling the morphology, composition and crystallinity
The term “Nanocrystal Engineering” can be defined as the design and synthesis of nanocrystals with desired morphologies and compositions based on understanding and exploitation of the nucleation and growth process. It is a key process in advancing the applications of nanomaterials including biosensing, catalysis, photonics, electronics and photovoltaics. As compared to the accomplishments of organic synthesis, we are still far from the complete understanding and experimental control over the synthesis of nanocrystals with well-defined morphology. However, the last two decades of research have resulted in excellent control over the morphology and composition of noble metal and metal chalcogenide nanocrystals. In this Highlight article, we summarize various standard protocols and recent advances for the shape-controlled synthesis of such nanocrystals. From the discussion in this article, it is clear that significant progress has been made toward the design and synthesis of nanocrystals with desired shape, crystallinity and composition by controlling the nucleation and growth process using specific synthetic protocols. We hope that this Highlight article will help researchers to follow some general rules to engineer the morphology and composition of noble metal and metal chalcogenide nanocrystals to maximise their efficiency for various applications.