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Growth and Stability of ZnTe Magic-Size Nanocrystals

Authors

  • Esther Groeneveld,

    1. Condensed Matter and Interfaces—Debye Institute for Nanomaterials Science, Utrecht University, P.O. Box 80 000, 3508 TA Utrecht, Netherlands
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  • Susanne van Berkum,

    1. Condensed Matter and Interfaces—Debye Institute for Nanomaterials Science, Utrecht University, P.O. Box 80 000, 3508 TA Utrecht, Netherlands
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  • Andries Meijerink,

    1. Condensed Matter and Interfaces—Debye Institute for Nanomaterials Science, Utrecht University, P.O. Box 80 000, 3508 TA Utrecht, Netherlands
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  • Celso de Mello Donegá

    Corresponding author
    1. Condensed Matter and Interfaces—Debye Institute for Nanomaterials Science, Utrecht University, P.O. Box 80 000, 3508 TA Utrecht, Netherlands
    • Condensed Matter and Interfaces—Debye Institute for Nanomaterials Science, Utrecht University, P.O. Box 80 000, 3508 TA Utrecht, Netherlands.
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Abstract

A synthetic method for ZnTe magic-sized clusters (MSCs) is reported, and the stability and growth kinetics of these clusters are investigated. Four distinct MSC families, with lowest-energy absorption peaks at 330, 354, 378, and 392 nm, are observed. The stability and growth kinetics of the MSCs are strongly influenced by the reaction temperature, precursor concentration, and nature of the ligands used as the coordinating solvent. High precursor concentrations result in faster growth and MSC formation at lower temperatures. Higher temperatures accelerate the growth kinetics and lead to a gradual shift from the stepwise MSC growth regime to a continuous growth regime. For temperatures above 260 °C, only continuous growth of nanocrystals is observed. The nature of the ligands also influences the stability and growth of ZnTe MSCs, which are formed with primary alkylamines as ligands, but not when trioctylphosphine, trioctylphosphine oxide, or trioctylamine are used as the sole ligands. This demonstrates the crucial role of ligands in the formation of stable ZnTe MSCs using colloidal synthetic methods. Under optimal synthetic conditions (200 °C, hexadecylamine as ligand, and suitable precursor concentrations), the method presented here allows the synthesis and isolation of a single MSC family absorbing at 330 nm.

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