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Synthesis of super bright indium phosphide colloidal quantum dots through thermal diffusion

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Mitchell T. Clarke, Francesco Narda Viscomi, Thomas W. Chamberlain, Nicole Hondow, Ali M. Adawi, Justin Sturge, Steven C. Erwin, Jean Sebastien G. Bouillard, Sudarsan Tamang, Graeme J. Stasiuk

Original languageEnglish
Article number36
JournalCommunications Chemistry
Issue number1
Early online date22 Mar 2019
Accepted/In press1 Mar 2019
E-pub ahead of print22 Mar 2019


King's Authors


Indium phosphide based quantum dots have emerged in recent years as alternatives to traditional heavy metal (cadmium, lead) based materials suitable for biomedical application due to their non-toxic nature. The major barrier to this application, is their low photoluminescent quantum yield in aqueous environments (typically < 5%). Here we present a synthetic method for InP/ZnS quantum dots, utilizing a controlled cooling step for equilibration of zinc sulfide across the core, resulting in a photoluminescent quantum yield as high as 85% in organic solvent and 57% in aqueous media. To the best of our knowledge, this is the highest reported for indium phosphide quantum dots. DFT calculations reveal the enhancement in quantum yield is achieved by redistribution of zinc sulfide across the indium phosphide core through thermal diffusion. By eliminating the need for a glove box and relying on Schlenk line techniques, we introduce a widely accessible method for quantum dots with a realistic potential for improved biomedical applications.

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