Colloidal quantum dots (QDs) show great promise as LED phosphors due to their tunable narrow-band emission and ability to produce high-quality white light. Currently, the most suitable QDs for lighting applications are based on cadmium, which presents a toxicity problem for consumer applications. The most promising cadmium-free candidate QDs are based on InP, but their quality lags much behind that of cadmium based QDs. This is not only because the synthesis of InP QDs is more challenging than that of Cd-based QDs, but also because the large lattice parameter of InP makes it difficult to grow an epitaxial, defect-free shell on top of such material. Here, we propose a viable approach to overcome this problem by alloying InP nanocrystals with Zn2+ ions, which enables the synthesis of InxZnyP alloy QDs having lattice constant that can be tuned from 5.93 Å (pure InP QDs) down to 5.39 Å by simply varying the concentration of the Zn precursor. This lattice engineering allows for subsequent strain-free, epitaxial growth of a ZnSezS1-z shell with lattice parameters matching that of the core. We demonstrate, for a wide range of core and shell compositions (i.e.; varying x, y, and z), that the photoluminescence quantum yield is maximal (up to 60%) when lattice mismatch is minimal.
Bibliographical noteAccepted Author Manuscript
- alloy nanocrystals
- core/shell heterostructures
- lattice mismatch
- quantum dots