Fast room-temperature functionalization of silicon nanoparticles using alkyl silanols†
Silicon nanoparticles (Si NPs) are a good alternative to conventional heavy metal-containing quantum dots in many applications, due to their low toxicity, low cost, and the high natural abundance of the starting material. Recently, much synthetic progress has been made, and crystalline Si NPs can now be prepared in a matter of hours. However, the passivation of these particles is still a time-consuming and difficult process, usually requiring high temperatures and/or harsh reaction conditions. In this paper, we report an easy method for the room-temperature functionalization of hydrogen-terminated Si NPs. Using silanol compounds, a range of functionalized Si NPs could be produced in only 1 h reaction time at room temperature. The coated NPs were fully characterized to determine the efficiency of binding and the effects of coating on the optical properties of the NPs. It was found that Si NPs were effectively functionalized, and that coated NPs could be extracted from the reaction mixture in a straightforward manner. The silanol coating increases the quantum yield of fluorescence, decreases the spectral width and causes a small (∼50 nm) blue-shift in both the excitation and emission spectra of the Si NPs, compared to unfunctionalized particles.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Luminescent silicon nanostructures