Langmuir, Vol.31, No.11, 3500-3509, 2015
Highly Fluorescent, Near-Infrared-Emitting Cd2+-Tuned HgS Nanocrystals with Optical Applications
Bulk HgS itself has proven to be a technologically important material; however, the poor stability and weak emission of HgS nanocrystals have greatly hindered their promising applications. Presently, a critical problem is the uncontrollable growth of HgS NCs and their intrinsic surface states which are susceptible to the local environment. Here, we address the issue by an ion-tuning approach to fabricating stable, highly fluorescent Cd:HgS/CdS NCs for the first time, which efficiently tuned the band-gap level of HgS NCs, pushing their intrinsic states far away from the surface, reducing the strong interaction of the environment with surface states and hence drastically boosting the exciton transition. As compared to bare HgS NCs, the obtained Cd:HgS/CdS NCs exhibited tunable luminescence peaks from 724 to 825 nm with an unprecedentedly high quantum yield up to 40% at room temperature and excellent thermal and photostability. Characterized by TEM, XRD, XPS, and AAS, the resultant Cd:HgS/CdS NCs possessed a zinc-blende structure and was composed of a homogeneous alloyed HgCdS structure coated with a thin-layer CdS shell. The formation mechanism of Cd:HgS/CdS NCs was proposed. These bright, stable HgS-based NCs presented promising applications as fluorescent inks for anticounterfeiting and as excellent light converters when coated onto a blue-light-emitting diode.