In contrast to molecular systems, which are defined with atomic precision, nanomaterials generally show some heterogeneity in size, shape, and composition. The sample inhomogeneity translates into a distribution of energy levels, band gaps, work functions, and other characteristics, which detrimentally affect practically every property of functional nanomaterials. We discuss a novel synthetic strategy, colloidal atomic layer deposition (c-ALD) with stationary reactant phases, which largely circumvents the limitations of traditional colloidal syntheses of nano-heterostructures with atomic precision. This approach allows for significant reduction of inhomogeneity in nanomaterials in complex nanostructures without compromising their structural perfection and enables the synthesis of epitaxial nano-heterostructures of unprecedented complexity. The improved synthetic control ultimately enables bandgap and strain engineering in colloidal nanomaterials with close to atomic accuracy. To demonstrate the power of the new c-ALD method, we synthesize a library of complex II-VI semiconductor nanoplatelet heterostructures. By combining spectroscopic and computational studies, we elucidate the subtle interplay between quantum confinement and strain effects on the optical properties of semiconductor nanostructures.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry