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Nanoscale Res Lett. 2012 Sep 27;7(1):536. doi: 10.1186/1556-276X-7-536.

Effect of surface ligands on the optical properties of aqueous soluble CdTe quantum dots.

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  • 1Grupo de Pesquisa em Química de Materiais - (GPQM), Departamento de Ciências Naturais, Universidade Federal de São João Del Rei, Campus Dom Bosco, Praça Dom Helvécio, 74, CEP, São João Del Rei, Minas Gerais, 36301-160, Brazil. schiavon@ufsj.edu.br.


We investigate systematically the influence of the nature of thiol-type capping ligands on the optical and structural properties of highly luminescent CdTe quantum dots synthesized in aqueous media, comparing mercaptopropionic acid (MPA), thioglycolic acid (TGA), 1-thioglycerol (TGH), and glutathione (GSH). The growth rate, size distribution, and quantum yield strongly depend on the type of surface ligand used. While TGH binds too strongly to the nanocrystal surface inhibiting growth, the use of GSH results in the fastest growth kinetics. TGA and MPA show intermediate growth kinetics, but MPA yields a much lower initial size distribution than TGA. The obtained fluorescence quantum yields range from 38% to 73%. XPS studies unambiguously put into evidence the formation of a CdS shell on the CdTe core due to the thermal decomposition of the capping ligands. This shell is thicker when GSH is used as ligand, as compared with TGA ligands.

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