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Ultra-large-scale syntheses of monodisperse nanocrystals


The development of nanocrystals has been intensively pursued, not only for their fundamental scientific interest, but also for many technological applications1,2,3. The synthesis of monodisperse nanocrystals (size variation <5%) is of key importance, because the properties of these nanocrystals depend strongly on their dimensions. For example, the colour sharpness of semiconductor nanocrystal-based optical devices is strongly dependent on the uniformity of the nanocrystals3,4,5,6, and monodisperse magnetic nanocrystals are critical for the next-generation multi-terabit magnetic storage media7,8,9. For these monodisperse nanocrystals to be used, an economical mass-production method needs to be developed. Unfortunately, however, in most syntheses reported so far, only sub-gram quantities of monodisperse nanocrystals were produced. Uniform-sized nanocrystals of CdSe (refs 10,11) and Au (refs 12,13) have been produced using colloidal chemical synthetic procedures. In addition, monodisperse magnetic nanocrystals such as Fe (refs 14,15), Co (refs 1618), γ-Fe2O3 (refs 19,20), and Fe3O4 (refs 21,22) have been synthesized by using various synthetic methods23. Here, we report on the ultra-large-scale synthesis of monodisperse nanocrystals using inexpensive and non-toxic metal salts as reactants. We were able to synthesize as much as 40 g of monodisperse nanocrystals in a single reaction, without a size-sorting process. Moreover, the particle size could be controlled simply by varying the experimental conditions. The current synthetic procedure is very general and nanocrystals of many transition metal oxides were successfully synthesized using a very similar procedure.

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Figure 1: The overall scheme for the ultra-large-scale synthesis of monodisperse nanocrystals.
Figure 2: 12-nm magnetite nanocrystals.
Figure 3: TEM images (a–e) and HRTEM images (f–j) of monodisperse iron oxide nanocrystals.
Figure 4: Characterization of monodisperse iron oxide nanocrystals.
Figure 5: TEM images, HRTEM images and electron diffraction patterns of monodisperse nanocrystals.

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T.H. would like to thank the financial support from the Korean Ministry of Science and Technology through the National Creative Research Initiative Program. J.G.P. would like to thank the financial support by the KOSEF through the Center for Strongly Correlated Materials Research at the Seoul National University. J.H.P. would like to thank the financial support by KISTEP through X-ray/particle-beam Nanocharacterization Program.

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Correspondence to Taeghwan Hyeon.

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Park, J., An, K., Hwang, Y. et al. Ultra-large-scale syntheses of monodisperse nanocrystals. Nature Mater 3, 891–895 (2004).

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