5 years ago

Writing on Nanocrystals: Patterning Colloidal Inorganic Nanocrystal Films through Irradiation-Induced Chemical Transformations of Surface Ligands

Writing on Nanocrystals: Patterning Colloidal Inorganic Nanocrystal Films through Irradiation-Induced Chemical Transformations of Surface Ligands
Francisco Palazon, Liberato Manna, Mirko Prato
In the past couple of decades, colloidal inorganic nanocrystals (NCs) and, more specifically, semiconductor quantum dots (QDs) have emerged as crucial materials for the development of nanoscience and nanotechnology, with applications in very diverse areas such as optoelectronics and biotechnology. Films made of inorganic NCs deposited on a substrate can be patterned by e-beam lithography, altering the structure of their capping ligands and thus allowing exposed areas to remain on the substrate while non-exposed areas are redispersed in a solvent, as in a standard lift-off process. This methodology can be described as a “direct” lithography process, since the exposure is performed directly on the material of interest, in contrast with conventional lithography which uses a polymeric resist as a mask for subsequent material deposition (or etching). A few reports from the late 1990s and early 2000s used such direct lithography to fabricate electrical wires from metallic NCs. However, the poor conductivity obtained through this process hindered the widespread use of the technique. In the early 2010s, the same method was used to define fluorescent patterns on QD films, allowing for further applications in biosensing. For the past 2–3 years, direct lithography on NC films with e-beams and X-rays has gone through an important development as it has been demonstrated that it can tune further transformations on the NCs, leading to more complex patternings and opening a whole new set of possible applications. This Perspective summarizes the findings of the past 20 years on direct lithography on NC films with a focus on the latest developments on QDs from 2014 and provides different potential future outcomes of this promising technique.

Publisher URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jacs.7b05888

DOI: 10.1021/jacs.7b05888

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