Challenge: The size-dependent optical and electrical properties of semiconductor nanocrystals make them attractive candidates for many applications. These applications include those in the fields of solar energy conversion optoelectronic devices and cellular imaging. Recent research efforts are directed towards the synthesis of nanostructures with well-defined structures and morphologies. Such control allows for the tuning of optical properties a feature that holds particular promise in solar cell applications. Solution: A new method for the controlled synthesis of CdSe nanocrystals was developed by researchers at Rice University. This invention expands the selection of available solvents for the production of the CdSe semiconductor nanocrystals. Solvent selection is critical in scaling up the production of these nanocrystals to levels of commercial manufacture and low-cost commercially available solvents such as those used in the present process are particularly desirable. The availability of such solvents in the production of semiconductor nanocrystals may have a significant effect on the economic feasibility of their commercialization.This process also allows for the generation of desired particle sizes through control of experimental conditions. Market Potential / Applications: This invention is relevant to the mass production of semiconductor nanocrystals for use in next generation solar cells. The expanded solvent selection and fine control over particle sizes makes this method particularly attractive to those seeking to use these materials in commercial applications. Development and Licensing Status: This technology is available for licensing from Rice University.
1) Method expands available solvents for nanocrystal synthesis to cheaper greener and commercially available alternatives. 2) Method offers control of particle size through regulation of growth temperature. 3) Method amenable to the synthesis of other nanoparticles using various solvents.