Photoluminescence properties of AgInS2–ZnS nanocrystals: the critical role of the surface†
AgInS2–ZnS (ZAIS) nanocrystals are very good candidates for easily synthesized, highly efficient cadmium-free nano-phosphors. They can be employed for the development of next generation white-LED technologies, taking advantage of their nanometric size. This paper describes the combined use of time-resolved emission spectroscopy and photoluminescence quantum yield measurements to quantitatively compare the efficiency of each recombination pathway involved in the photoluminescence of ZAIS nanocrystals. This approach, applied to nanocrystals of different sizes, compositions and surface chemistry revealed the critical role of surface effects. Moreover, we developed a new type of surface passivation that increases the photoluminescence quantum yield of all nanocrystal compositions by 15 to 20%. This molecular surface passivation can be applied as a replacement or in addition to the already established ZnS shell passivation method.