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Direct patterning of colloidal quantum dots with adaptable dual-ligand surface

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Abstract

Colloidal quantum dots (QDs) stand at the forefront of a variety of photonic applications given their narrow spectral bandwidth and near-unity luminescence efficiency. However, integrating luminescent QD films into photonic devices without compromising their optical or transport characteristics remains challenging. Here we devise a dual-ligand passivation system comprising photocrosslinkable ligands and dispersing ligands to enable QDs to be universally compatible with solution-based patterning techniques. The successful control over the structure of both ligands allows the direct patterning of dual-ligand QDs on various substrates using commercialized photolithography (i-line) or inkjet printing systems at a resolution up to 15,000 pixels per inch without compromising the optical properties of the QDs or the optoelectronic performance of the device. We demonstrate the capabilities of our approach for QD-LED applications. Our approach offers a versatile way of creating various structures of luminescent QDs in a cost-effective and non-destructive manner, and could be implemented in nearly all commercial photonics applications where QDs are used.

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Fig. 1: Concept of direct patterning with dual-ligand QDs.
Fig. 2: Structurally engineered PXLs for non-destructive QD photocrosslink.
Fig. 3: Multicoloured patterns made of dual-ligand QDs.
Fig. 4: Optoelectronic devices implementing photocrosslinked QD patterns.

Data availability

All data supporting this work are contained in Figs. 1–4. Source data are provided with this paper.

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Acknowledgements

This study was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT, and Future Planning (2020R1A2C2011478 (W.K.B.), 2021R1A2C2008332 (M.S.K.), 2020M3D1A2101310 & 2021M3H4A3A01062960 (W.K.B., M.S.K. and D.C.L.), and 2021M3H4A1A01004332 (D.C.L. and W.K.B.)); the Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy (MOTIE, Korea) (no. 20010737 (W.K.B.) and 20015805 (J.-W.S., N.S.C. and C.K.)); and Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) grant funded by the Korean government (no. 22ZB1200 (J.-W.S., N.S.C. and C.K.), Development of ICT Materials, Components and Equipment Technologies). This research was also supported by Samsung Display (W.K.B., M.S.K. and D.C.L.).

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Contributions

D.H., J.L., H.K., C.K., M.S.K. and W.K.B. conceived the original idea and designed the experiments. D.H., J.L., J.H.C., Y.-S.P. and D.C.L. conducted the synthesis and characterization of QD and analysed the spectroscopic data. D.H., J.L., H.K., J.-W.S., J.Y., C.H.L. and C.K. prepared the dual-ligand QDs and carried out the patterning experiment and thin-film characterization. S.H. and S.C. conducted the inkjet printing and characterization. B.C. and E.H. carried out the computational calculation. J.-W.S., S.R., H.J., N.S.C. and C.K. fabricated all the devices and analysed the data. All the authors contributed to the preparation of the paper.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Chan-mo Kang, Moon Sung Kang or Wan Ki Bae.

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Nature Nanotechnology thanks Lei Qian, Manuel Triana and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

Supplementary Notes 1–6, Figs. 1–24, Tables 1 and 2, caption for Supplementary Video 1 and references.

Supplementary Video 1

Electroluminescence of 10×10 RGB QD-LED arrays implementing photocrosslinked QD patterns. Real-time movie of light emission from 10 × 10 QD-LED arrays for each primary colour and RGB QD-LED array.

Source data

Source Data Fig. 1

Image source data for Fig. 1d.

Source Data Fig. 2

Numerical and image source data for Fig. 2b–f.

Source Data Fig. 3

Numerical and image source data for Fig. 3a–e,h.

Source Data Fig. 4

Numerical source data for Fig. 4a,c.

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Hahm, D., Lim, J., Kim, H. et al. Direct patterning of colloidal quantum dots with adaptable dual-ligand surface. Nat. Nanotechnol. 17, 952–958 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41565-022-01182-5

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