Characterization of colloidal quantum dot ligand exchange by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy
Colloidal quantum dots (CQDs) are chemically synthesized semiconductor nanoparticles with size-dependent wavelength tunability. Chemical synthesis of CQDs involves the attachment of long organic surface ligands to prevent aggregation; however, these ligands also impede charge transport. Therefore, it is beneficial to exchange longer surface ligands for shorter ones for optoelectronic devices. Typical characterization techniques used to analyze surface ligand exchange include Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, x-ray diffraction, transmission electron microscopy, and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, yet these techniques do not provide a simultaneously direct, quantitative, and sensitive method for evaluating surface ligands on CQDs. In contrast, x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) can provide nanoscale sensitivity for quantitative analysis of CQD surface ligand exchange. A unique aspect of this work is that a fingerprint is identified for shorter surface ligands by resolving the regional XPS spectrum corresponding to different types of carbon bonds. In addition, a deposition technique known as resonant infrared matrix-assisted pulsed laser evaporation is used to improve the CQD film uniformity such that stronger XPS signals are obtained, enabling more accurate analysis of the ligand exchange process. © 2013 TMS.
Atewologun, A; Ge, W; Stiff-Roberts, AD
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