A general and robust strategy for the synthesis of nearly monodisperse colloidal nanocrystals

Xinchang Pang, Lei Zhao, Wei Han, Xukai Xin, Zhiqun Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

357 Scopus citations

Abstract

Colloidal nanocrystals exhibit a wide range of size-and shape-dependent properties and have found application in myriad fields, incuding optics, electronics, mechanics, drug delivery and catalysis, to name but a few. Synthetic protocols that enable the simple and convenient production of colloidal nanocrystals with controlled size, shape and composition are therefore of key general importance. Current strategies include organic solution-phase synthesis, thermolysis of organometallic precursors, sol-gel processes, hydrothermal reactions and biomimetic and dendrimer templating. Often, however, these procedures require stringent experimental conditions, are difficult to generalize, or necessitate tedious multistep reactions and purification. Recently, linear amphiphilic block co-polymer micelles have been used as templates to synthesize functional nanocrystals, but the thermodynamic instability of these micelles limits the scope of this approach. Here, we report a general strategy for crafting a large variety of functional nanocrystals with precisely controlled dimensions, compositions and architectures by using star-like block co-polymers as nanoreactors. This new class of co-polymers forms unimolecular micelles that are structurally stable, therefore overcoming the intrinsic instability of linear block co-polymer micelles. Our approach enables the facile synthesis of organic solvent-and water-soluble nearly monodisperse nanocrystals with desired composition and architecture, including core-shell and hollow nanostructures. We demonstrate the generality of our approach by describing, as examples, the synthesis of various sizes and architectures of metallic, ferroelectric, magnetic, semiconductor and luminescent colloidal nanocrystals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)426-431
Number of pages6
JournalNature Nanotechnology
Volume8
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors acknowledge funding support from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (FA9550-09-1-0388 and FA9550-13-1-0101) and the Georgia Institute of Technology. The authors also thank Y. Xia and V. Tsukruk for helpful discussions.

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