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Core/Shell Semiconductor Nanocrystals

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Abstract

Colloidal core/shell nanocrystals contain at least two semiconductor materials in an onionlike structure. The possibility to tune the basic optical properties of the core nanocrystals, for example, their fluorescence wavelength, quantum yield, and lifetime, by growing an epitaxial-type shell of another semiconductor has fueled significant progress on the chemical synthesis of these systems. In such core/shell nanocrystals, the shell provides a physical barrier between the optically active core and the surrounding medium, thus making the nanocrystals less sensitive to environmental changes, surface chemistry, and photo-oxidation. The shell further provides an efficient passivation of the surface trap states, giving rise to a strongly enhanced fluorescence quantum yield. This effect is a fundamental prerequisite for the use of nanocrystals in applications such as biological labeling and light-emitting devices, which rely on their emission properties. Focusing on recent advances, this Review discusses the fundamental properties and synthesis methods of core/shell and core/multiple shell structures of II–VI, IV–VI, and III–V semiconductors.

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