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Synthesis of Uniform Disk-Shaped Copper Telluride Nanocrystals and Cation Exchange to Cadmium Telluride Quantum Disks with Stable Red Emission

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journal contribution
posted on 16.12.2015, 23:21 by Hongbo Li, Rosaria Brescia, Mauro Povia, Mirko Prato, Giovanni Bertoni, Liberato Manna, Iwan Moreels
We present the synthesis of novel disk-shaped hexagonal Cu2Te nanocrystals with a well-defined stoichiometric composition and tunable diameter and thickness. Subsequent cation exchange of Cu to Cd at high temperature (180 °C) results in highly fluorescent CdTe nanocrystals, with less than 1 mol % of residual Cu remaining in the lattice. The procedure preserves the overall disk shape, but is accompanied by a substantial reconstruction of the anion sublattice, resulting in a reorientation of the c-axis from the surface normal in Cu2Te into the disk plane in CdTe nanodisks. The synthesized CdTe nanodisks show a continuously tunable photoluminescence (PL) peak position, scaling with the thickness of the disks. The PL lifetime further confirms that the CdTe PL arises from band-edge exciton recombination; that is, no Cu-related emission is observed. On average, the recombination rate is about 25–45% faster with respect to their spherical quantum dots counterparts, opening up the possibility to enhance the emission rate at a given wavelength by controlling the nanocrystal shape. Finally, with a PL quantum efficiency of up to 36% and an enhanced PL stability under ambient conditions due to a monolayer of CdS formed on the nanocrystal surface during cation exchange, these flat quantum disks form an interesting enrichment to the current family of highly fluorescent, shape-controlled nanocrystals.