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Keywords:

  • encapsulation;
  • micelles;
  • polymers;
  • quantum dots;
  • semiconductors

Abstract

A simple one-pot polymer encapsulation method is developed for group II–VI semiconductor quantum dots (QDs) synthesized in aqueous solution. The micelles of amphiphilic polymers, such as octadecylamine-modified poly(acrylic acid), capture and encapsulate the QDs when the original hydrophilic ligands, namely 3-mercaptopropionic acid (MPA), capped on the CdTe/CdS core/shell QDs are partially or fully exchanged by the hydrophobic ligands, 1-dodecanethiol. The molar ratio of the amphiphilic polymer to QDs plays a crucial role in determining the final morphology of the encapsulated structures, including the number of QDs encapsulated in one polymeric micelle. Importantly, the polymer coating significantly improves the optical properties of the QDs, which enhances the photoluminescence quantum yield by about 50%. Furthermore, the photostability of the amphiphilic polymer-coated QDs is much better than that of the synthesized QDs capped with MPA.