Robust, Uniform, and Highly Emissive Quantum Dot-Polymer Films and Patterns Using Thiol-Ene Chemistry

Marcus J. Smith, Sidney T. Malak, Jaehan Jung, Young Jun Yoon, Chun Hao Lin, Sunghan Kim, Kyung Min Lee, Ruilong Ma, Timothy J. White, Timothy J. Bunning, Zhiqun Lin, Vladimir V. Tsukruk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


This work demonstrates a facile and versatile method for generating low scattering cross-linked quantum dot (QD)-polymer composite films and patterned highly emissive structures with ultrahigh QD loading, minimal phase separation, and tunable mechanical properties. Uniform QD-polymer films are fabricated using thiol-ene chemistry, in which cross-linked polymer networks are rapidly produced in ambient conditions via fast UV polymerization in bulk to suppress QD aggregation. UV-controlled thiol-ene chemistry limits phase separation through producing highly QD loaded cross-linked composites with loadings above majority of those reported in the literature (<1%) and approaching 30%. As the QD loading is increased, the thiol and ene conversion decreases, resulting in nanocomposites with widely variable and tailorable mechanical properties as a function of UV irradiation time with an elastic modulus decreasing to 1 GPa being characteristic of reinforced elastomeric materials, in contrast to usually observed stiff and brittle materials under these loading conditions. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the thiol-ene chemistry is compatible with soft-imprint lithography, making it possible to pattern highly loaded QD films while preserving the optical properties essential for high gain and low optical loss devices. The versatility of thiol-ene chemistry to produce high-dense QD-polymer films potentially makes it an important technique for polymer-based elastomeric optical metamaterials, where efficient light propagation is critical, like peculiar waveguides, sensors, and optical gain films.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17435-17448
Number of pages14
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number20
StatePublished - 24 May 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 American Chemical Society.


  • photoluminescence
  • polymer nanocomposite
  • quantum dots
  • quantum yield
  • soft lithography
  • thiol-ene
  • thiol-ene chemistry


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