Low-Dimensional Semiconductor Superlattices Formed by Geometric Control over Nanocrystal Attachment

Oriented attachment, the process in which nanometer-sized crystals fuse by atomic bonding of specific crystal facets, is expected to be more difficult to control than nanocrystal self-assembly that is driven by entropic factors or weak van der Waals attractions. Here, we present a study of oriented attachment of PbSe nanocrystals that counteract this tuition. The reaction was studied in a thin film of the suspension casted on an immiscible liquid at a given temperature. We report that attachment can be controlled such that it occurs with one type of facets exclusively. By control of the temperature and particle concentration we obtain one- or two-dimensional PbSe single crystals, the latter with a honeycomb or square superimposed periodicity in the nanometer range. We demonstrate the ability to convert these PbSe superstructures into other semiconductor compounds with the preservation of crystallinity and geometry.