Regioselective magnetization in semiconducting nanorods


Chirality—the property of an object wherein it is distinguishable from its mirror image—is of widespread interest in chemistry and biology1,2,3,4,5,6. Regioselective magnetization of one-dimensional semiconductors enables anisotropic magnetism at room temperature, as well as the manipulation of spin polarization—the properties essential for spintronics and quantum computing technology7. To enable oriented magneto-optical functionalities, the growth of magnetic units has to be achieved at targeted locations on a parent nanorod. However, this challenge is yet to be addressed in the case of materials with a large lattice mismatch. Here, we report the regioselective magnetization of nanorods independent of lattice mismatch via buffer intermediate catalytic layers that modify interfacial energetics and promote regioselective growth of otherwise incompatible materials. Using this strategy, we combine materials with distinct lattices, chemical compositions and magnetic properties, that is, a magnetic component (Fe3O4) and a series of semiconducting nanorods absorbing across the ultraviolet and visible spectrum at specific locations. The resulting heteronanorods exhibit optical activity as induced by the location-specific magnetic field. The regioselective magnetization strategy presented here enables a path to designing optically active nanomaterials for chirality and spintronics.

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Fig. 1: Regioselective magnetization of one-dimensional nanorods.
Fig. 2: Structural characterization of ZnxCd1xS-Ag2S/Au@Fe3O4 heteronanorods.
Fig. 3: Growth of quaternary heteronanorods.
Fig. 4: Optical absorption spectroscopy.
Fig. 5: Local magnetic field induces optical activity in colloidal hybrid nanostructures.

Data availability

The data are available from the corresponding authors on reasonable request.


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This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant nos. 51732011, 21431006, 21761132008, 81788101, 11227901 and 21805188), the Foundation for Innovative Research Groups of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant no. 21521001), Key Research Programme of Frontier Sciences, CAS (grant no. QYZDJ-SSW-SLH036), the National Basic Research Programme of China (grant no. 2014CB931800), the Users with Excellence and Scientific Research Grant of Hefei Science Centre of CAS (grant no. 2015HSC-UE007), Anhui Initiative in Quantum Information Technologies (grant no. AHY050000), Ontario Research Fund–Research Excellence Program and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

Author information




S.-H.Y., E.H.S. and Z.T. supervised the project. T.-T.Z. and Y.Li conceived the idea, carried out the experiments, analysed the results and wrote the paper. X.G. helped to perform and analyse the circular dichroism and magnetic circular dichroism data. M.W. and Y.Li collected and analysed the transient absorption spectra. C.Z. helped to synthesize materials. L.D. and Y.-H.S. helped to conduct the magnetothermal and photothermal experiments. J.T. and G.L. helped to characterize the materials. F.P.G.d.A., P.T., X.L., Y.Lu, X.Y., L.Z., F.F. and S.O.K. helped to edit the manuscript. All authors discussed the results and assisted during manuscript preparation.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Shu-Hong Yu or Zhiyong Tang or Edward H. Sargent.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Peer review information Nature Nanotechnology thanks Hua Zhang and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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Supplementary Information

Supplementary Figs. 1–26, Tables 1–4, Notes 1–3 and refs 1–16.

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Zhuang, TT., Li, Y., Gao, X. et al. Regioselective magnetization in semiconducting nanorods. Nat. Nanotechnol. 15, 192–197 (2020).

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