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Nat Mater. 2013 May;12(5):445-51. doi: 10.1038/nmat3539. Epub 2013 Feb 3.

Compact high-quality CdSe-CdS core-shell nanocrystals with narrow emission linewidths and suppressed blinking.

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Department of Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.


High particle uniformity, high photoluminescence quantum yields, narrow and symmetric emission spectral lineshapes and minimal single-dot emission intermittency (known as blinking) have been recognized as universal requirements for the successful use of colloidal quantum dots in nearly all optical applications. However, synthesizing samples that simultaneously meet all these four criteria has proven challenging. Here, we report the synthesis of such high-quality CdSe-CdS core-shell quantum dots in an optimized process that maintains a slow growth rate of the shell through the use of octanethiol and cadmium oleate as precursors. In contrast with previous observations, single-dot blinking is significantly suppressed with only a relatively thin shell. Furthermore, we demonstrate the elimination of the ensemble luminescence photodarkening that is an intrinsic consequence of quantum dot blinking statistical ageing. Furthermore, the small size and high photoluminescence quantum yields of these novel quantum dots render them superior in vivo imaging agents compared with conventional quantum dots. We anticipate these quantum dots will also result in significant improvement in the performance of quantum dots in other applications such as solid-state lighting and illumination.

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