Simple yet versatile synthesis of CuInSexS2-x quantum dots for sunlight harvesting

Hunter McDaniel, Alexey Y. Koposov, Sergiu Draguta, Nikolay S. Makarov, Jeffrey M. Pietryga, Victor I. Klimov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


Common approaches to synthesizing alloyed CuInSexS2-x quantum dots (QDs) employ high-cost, air-sensitive phosphine complexes as the selenium precursor. Such methods typically offer low chemical yields and only moderate emission efficiencies, particularly for selenium-rich compositions. Here we demonstrate that such hazardous and air-sensitive selenium precursors can be completely avoided by utilizing a combination of thiols and amines that is very effective at reducing and then complexing with elemental selenium to form a highly reactive selenium precursor at room temperature. The optical properties of the CuInSexS2-x QDs synthesized by this new approach can be finely tuned for optimal sunlight harvesting through control of QD size and composition. In order to demonstrate the importance of such material tunability, we incorporate QDs into liquid-junction Grätzel solar cells and study correlations between varied QD size and composition and the resulting device performance. We also investigate charge transport in films of CuInSe xS2-x QDs by incorporating them into bottom-gate field effect transistors. Such films exhibit measurable p-type conductance even without exchange of the long native surface ligands, and the films conductance can be improved by more than 3 orders of magnitude by replacing native ligands with shorter ethanedithiol molecules. The results of this study indicate the significant promise of CuInSexS2-x QDs synthesized by this method for applications in photovoltaics utilizing both sensitized and p-n junction architectures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16987-16994
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry C
Issue number30
Publication statusPublished - Jul 31 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Energy(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films

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