Solution phase syntheses and size-selective separation methods to prepare semiconductor and metal nanocrystals, tunable in size from ∼1 to 20 nm and monodisperse to ≤5%, are presented. Preparation of monodisperse samples enables systematic characterization of the structural, electronic, and optical properties of materials as they evolve from molecular to bulk in the nanometer size range. Sample uniformity makes it possible to manipulate nanocrystals into close-packed, glassy, and ordered nanocrystal assemblies (superlattices, colloidal crystals, supercrystals). Rigorous structural characterization is critical to understanding the electronic and optical properties of both nanocrystals and their assemblies. At inter-particle separations 5–100 Å, dipole-dipole interactions lead to energy transfer between neighboring nanocrystals, and electronic tunneling between proximal nanocrystals gives rise to dark and photoconductivity. At separations <5 Å, exchange interactions cause otherwise insulating assemblies to become semiconducting, metallic, or superconducting depending on nanocrystal composition. Tailoring the size and composition of the nanocrystals and the length and electronic structure of the matrix may tune the properties of nanocrystal solid-state materials.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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