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J Am Chem Soc. 2008 May 7;130(18):5974-85. doi: 10.1021/ja800040c. Epub 2008 Apr 9.

Structural, optical, and electrical properties of PbSe nanocrystal solids treated thermally or with simple amines.

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  • 1National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, Colorado 80401, USA.


We describe the structural, optical, and electrical properties of films of spin-cast, oleate-capped PbSe nanocrystals that are treated thermally or chemically in solutions of hydrazine, methylamine, or pyridine to produce electronically coupled nanocrystal solids. Postdeposition heat treatments trigger nanocrystal sintering at approximately 200 degrees C, before a substantial fraction of the oleate capping group evaporates or pyrolyzes. The sintered nanocrystal films have a large hole density and are highly conductive. Most of the amine treatments preserve the size of the nanocrystals and remove much of the oleate, decreasing the separation between nanocrystals and yielding conductive films. X-ray scattering, X-ray photoelectron and optical spectroscopy, electron microscopy, and field-effect transistor electrical measurements are used to compare the impact of these chemical treatments. We find that the concentration of amines adsorbed to the NC films is very low in all cases. Treatments in hydrazine in acetonitrile remove only 2-7% of the oleate yet result in high-mobility n-type transistors. In contrast, ethanol-based hydrazine treatments remove 85-90% of the original oleate load. Treatments in pure ethanol strip 20% of the oleate and create conductive p-type transistors. Methylamine- and pyridine-treated films are also p-type. These chemically treated films oxidize rapidly in air to yield, after short air exposures, highly conductive p-type nanocrystal solids. Our results aid in the rational development of solar cells based on colloidal nanocrystal films.

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