Interplay between Surface Chemistry, Precursor Reactivity, and Temperature Determines Outcome of ZnS Shelling Reactions on CuInS2 Nanocrystals

Anne C. Berends, Ward Van Der Stam, Jan P. Hofmann, Eva Bladt, Johannes D. Meeldijk, Sara Bals, Celso De Mello Donega*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)
19 Downloads (Pure)


ZnS shelling of I-III-VI2 nanocrystals (NCs) invariably leads to blue-shifts in both the absorption and photoluminescence spectra. These observations imply that the outcome of ZnS shelling reactions on I-III-VI2 colloidal NCs results from a complex interplay between several processes taking place in solution, at the surface of, and within the seed NC. However, a fundamental understanding of the factors determining the balance between these different processes is still lacking. In this work, we address this need by investigating the impact of precursor reactivity, reaction temperature, and surface chemistry (due to the washing procedure) on the outcome of ZnS shelling reactions on CuInS2 NCs using a seeded growth approach. We demonstrate that low reaction temperatures (150 °C) favor etching, cation exchange, and alloying regardless of the precursors used. Heteroepitaxial shell overgrowth becomes the dominant process only if reactive S- and Zn-precursors (S-ODE/OLAM and ZnI2) and high reaction temperatures (210 °C) are used, although a certain degree of heterointerfacial alloying still occurs. Remarkably, the presence of residual acetate at the surface of CIS seed NCs washed with ethanol is shown to facilitate heteroepitaxial shell overgrowth, yielding for the first time CIS/ZnS core/shell NCs displaying red-shifted absorption spectra, in agreement with the spectral shifts expected for a type-I band alignment. The insights provided by this work pave the way toward the design of improved synthesis strategies to CIS/ZnS core/shell and alloy NCs with tailored elemental distribution profiles, allowing precise tuning of the optoelectronic properties of the resulting materials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2400-2413
Number of pages14
JournalChemistry of Materials
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2018


Dive into the research topics of 'Interplay between Surface Chemistry, Precursor Reactivity, and Temperature Determines Outcome of ZnS Shelling Reactions on CuInS<sub>2</sub> Nanocrystals'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this