Photo-electrical properties of 2D quantum confined metal–organic chalcogenide nanocrystal films†
Hybrid quantum wells are electronic structures where charge carriers are confined along stacked inorganic planes, separated by insulating organic moieties. 2D quantum-confined hybrid materials are of great interest from a solid-state physics standpoint because of the rich many-body phenomena they host, their tunability and easy synthesis, allowing the creation of material libraries. In addition, from a technological point of view, 2D hybrids are promising candidates for efficient, tunable, low-cost materials impacting a broad range of optoelectronic devices. Different approaches and materials have, therefore, been investigated, with the notable example of 2D metal halide hybrid perovskites. Despite the remarkable properties of such materials, the presence of toxic elements like lead is not desirable in applications and their ionic lattices may represent a limiting factor for stability under operating conditions. Therefore, non-ionic 2D materials made with non-toxic elements are preferable. In order to expand the library of possible hybrid quantum well materials, herein, we consider an alternative platform based on non-toxic, self-assembled, metal–organic chalcogenides. While the optical properties have been recently explored and some unique excitonic characters highlighted, photo-generation of carriers and their transport in these lamellar inorganic/organic nanostructures and critical optoelectronic aspects remain totally unexplored. We hereby report the first investigation on the electrical properties of the air-stable [AgSePh]∞ 2D coordination polymer in the form of nanocrystal (NC) films readily synthesized in situ and at low temperature, compatible with flexible plastic substrates. The wavelength-dependent photo-response of the NC films suggests the possible use of this material as a near-UV photodetector. We therefore built a lateral photo-detector, achieving a sensitivity of 0.8 A W−1 at 370 nm, thanks to a photoconduction mechanism, and a cut-off frequency of ∼400 Hz, and validated its reliability as an air-stable UV detector on flexible substrates.