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Bandgap engineering in semiconductor alloy nanomaterials with widely tunable compositions


Over the past decade, tremendous progress has been achieved in the development of nanoscale semiconductor materials with a wide range of bandgaps by alloying different individual semiconductors. These materials include traditional II–VI and III–V semiconductors and their alloys, inorganic and hybrid perovskites, and the newly emerging 2D materials. One important common feature of these materials is that their nanoscale dimensions result in a large tolerance to lattice mismatches within a monolithic structure of varying composition or between the substrate and target material, which enables us to achieve almost arbitrary control of the variation of the alloy composition. As a result, the bandgaps of these alloys can be widely tuned without the detrimental defects that are often unavoidable in bulk materials, which have a much more limited tolerance to lattice mismatches. This class of nanomaterials could have a far-reaching impact on a wide range of photonic applications, including tunable lasers, solid-state lighting, artificial photosynthesis and new solar cells.

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Figure 1: Bandgaps and lattice constants for typical semiconductors and their alloys.
Figure 2: Effect of lattice mismatch on epitaxial growth.
Figure 3: Spatial composition grading on a single substrate.
Figure 4: Growth and characterization of multisegment nanosheets for simultaneous lasing in red, green and blue.
Figure 5: Direct synthesis of halide perovskite alloy nanomaterials.
Figure 6: Halide perovskite alloys grown through ion exchange.


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C.-Z.N. acknowledges support from the 985 University Project of China, the Tsinghua University Initiative Scientific Research Program (No. 20141081296), and the ARPA-E MOSAIC Program (DE-AR001255-1527). C.-Z.N. thanks his students and postdocs over the past 10 years who have contributed to the study of semiconductor alloy nanomaterials, especially S. Amiri, D. Caselli, F. Fan, R. Liu, Z. Liu, P. Nichols, A. Pan, M. Sun, S. Turkdogan and L. Yin. L.D. and P.Y. are thankful for the support of the US Department of Energy, Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences, Materials Sciences and Engineering Division under contract no. DE-AC02-05CH11231 (Physical Chemistry of Inorganic Nanostructures KC3103).

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All authors contributed equally to the preparation of this manuscript.

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Correspondence to Cun-Zheng Ning or Peidong Yang.

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Ning, CZ., Dou, L. & Yang, P. Bandgap engineering in semiconductor alloy nanomaterials with widely tunable compositions. Nat Rev Mater 2, 17070 (2017).

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