Pressure-induced structural transformations in semiconductor nanocrystals are examined. High-pressure Raman spectroscopy, EXAFS, X­ray diffraction, and optical absorption are discussed as methods for studying these transformations in CdSe, CdS, and Si nanocrystals. In these nanocrystal systems, each technique shows an elevation in solid-solid structural transformation pressure as crystallite size decreases. By analogy with melting in nanocrystals, this elevation in transformation pressure is explained in terms of an increase in surface energy in the newly formed high-pressure phase crystallites. The increase in surface energy is in turn the result of transition path-induced changes in the shape of the nanocrystals. These changes convert spherical nanocrystals with low-index, low-energy surfaces into oblate or prolate crystallites with higher-index, higher-energy surfaces. The elevation in structural transformation pressure in nanocrystals is thus a kinetic rather than a thermodynamic phenomenon.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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