Stoichiometric control of the density of states in PbS colloidal quantum dot solids

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Science Advances  29 Sep 2017:
Vol. 3, no. 9, eaao1558
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aao1558

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Colloidal quantum dots, and nanostructured semiconductors in general, carry the promise of overcoming the limitations of classical materials in chemical and physical properties and in processability. However, sufficient control of electronic properties, such as carrier concentration and carrier mobility, has not been achieved until now, limiting their application. In bulk semiconductors, modifications of electronic properties are obtained by alloying or doping, an approach that is not viable for structures in which the surface is dominant. The electronic properties of PbS colloidal quantum dot films are fine-tuned by adjusting their stoichiometry, using the large surface area of the nanoscale building blocks. We achieve an improvement of more than two orders of magnitude in the hole mobility, from below 10−3 to above 0.1 cm2/V⋅s, by substituting the iodide ligands with sulfide while keeping the electron mobility stable (~1 cm2/V⋅s). This approach is not possible in bulk semiconductors, and the developed method will likely contribute to the improvement of solar cell efficiencies through better carrier extraction and to the realization of complex (opto)electronic devices.

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