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Shape control of CdSe nanocrystals


Nanometre-size inorganic dots, tubes and wires exhibit a wide range of electrical and optical properties1,2 that depend sensitively on both size and shape3,4, and are of both fundamental and technological interest. In contrast to the syntheses of zero-dimensional systems, existing preparations of one-dimensional systems often yield networks of tubes or rods which are difficult to separate5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12. And, in the case of optically active II–VI and III–V semiconductors, the resulting rod diameters are too large to exhibit quantum confinement effects6,8,9,10. Thus, except for some metal nanocrystals13, there are no methods of preparation that yield soluble and monodisperse particles that are quantum-confined in two of their dimensions. For semiconductors, a benchmark preparation is the growth of nearly spherical II–VI and III–V nanocrystals by injection of precursor molecules into a hot surfactant14,15. Here we demonstrate that control of the growth kinetics of the II–VI semiconductor cadmium selenide can be used to vary the shapes of the resulting particles from a nearly spherical morphology to a rod-like one, with aspect ratios as large as ten to one. This method should be useful, not only for testing theories of quantum confinement, but also for obtaining particles with spectroscopic properties that could prove advantageous in biological labelling experiments16,17 and as chromophores in light-emitting diodes18,19.

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Figure 1: TEM images of different samples of quantum rods.
Figure 2: X-ray diffraction patterns of two CdSe rod-shaped nanocrystals.
Figure 3
Figure 4: Optical spectra and emission polarization of CdSe quantum dots and rods.


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This work was supported by the US Department of Energy and by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

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Peng, X., Manna, L., Yang, W. et al. Shape control of CdSe nanocrystals. Nature 404, 59–61 (2000).

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