Two-dimensional semiconductor nanocrystals: Properties, templated formation, and magic-size nanocluster intermediates

Fudong Wang*, Yuanyuan Wang, Yi Hsin Liu, Paul J. Morrison, Richard A. Loomis, William E. Buhro

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Citations (Scopus)


CONSPECTUS: Semiconductor nanocrystals having an extended length dimension and capable of efficiently transporting energy and charge would have useful applications in solar-energy conversion and other emerging technologies. Pseudocylindrical semiconductor nanowires and quantum wires are available that could potentially serve in this role. Sadly, however, their defective surfaces contain significant populations of surface trap sites that preclude efficient transport. The very large surface area of long wires is at least part of the problem. As electrons, holes, and excitons migrate along a nanowire or quantum wire, they are exposed to an extensive surface and to potentially large numbers of trap sites. A solution to this dilemma might be found by identifying "long" semiconductor nanocrystals of other morphologies that are better passivated. In this Account, we discuss a newly emerging family of flat semiconductor nanocrystals that have surprising characteristics. These thin, flat nanocrystals have up to micrometer-scale (orthogonal) lateral dimensions and thus very large surface areas. Even so, their typical photoluminescence efficiencies of 30% are astonishingly high and are 2 orders of magnitude higher than those typical of semiconductor quantum wires. The very sharp emission spectra of the pseudo-twodimensional nanocrystals reflect a remarkable uniformity in their discrete thicknesses. Evidence that excitons are effectively delocalized and hence transported over the full dimensions of these nanocrystals has been obtained. The excellent optical properties of the flat semiconductor nanocrystals confirm that they are exceptionally well passivated. This Account summarizes the two synthetic methods that have been developed for the preparation of pseudo-two-dimensional semiconductor nanocrystals. A discussion of their structural features accounts for their discrete, uniform thicknesses and details the crystal-lattice expansions and contractions they exhibit. An analysis of their optical properties justifies the sharp photoluminescence spectra and high photoluminescence efficiencies. Finally, a bilayer mesophase template pathway is elucidated for the formation of the nanocrystals, explaining their flat morphologies. Magic-size nanocluster intermediates are found to be potent nanocrystal nucleants, allowing the synthesis temperatures to be decreased to as low as room temperature. The potential of these flat semiconductor nanocrystals in the form of nanoribbons or nanosheets for long-range energy and charge transport appears to be high. (Graph Presented).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-21
Number of pages9
JournalAccounts of Chemical Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jan 20

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)


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