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J Am Chem Soc. 2011 Feb 2;133(4):1007-1015. doi: 10.1021/ja1089809.

Doping Cu in semiconductor nanocrystals: some old and some new physical insights.

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Department of Materials Science and Centre for Advanced Materials, Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science, Jadavpur 700032, India.


Cu-doped inorganic semiconductors with concomitant optical properties have garnered enormous research interest in the last two decades. However, uncertainties over the origin of Cu emission, its oxidation state, resemblance with trap state emission, position of Cu d-state, emission spectral width, and moreover understanding of the doping mechanism restricted the wide development of the synthetic methodology for high-quality Cu-doped nanocrystals. It has been shown recently that the emission from Cu-doped semiconductor nanocrystals can span over a wide spectral window and could be a potential color tunable dispersed nanocrystal emitter. Herein, we report the size and composition of variable Cu-doped ZnS/Zn(1−x)Cd(x)S zinc-blende (ZB) surface alloyed nanocrystals with intense, stable, and tunable emission covering the blue to red end of the visible spectrum. Further, the Cu dopant emission is distinguished from trap state emission, and the composition variable spectral broadening has been justified on the account of a different environment around the Cu ions in the host lattice. Whereas some findings are in agreement with past reports, several new physical insights presented here would help the community for an in-depth mechanistic study on Cu doping. Moreover, these doped nanocrystal emitters can be a promising candidate for application ranging from optoelectronics to bio-labeling.


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