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Repulsive, Densely-Packed Ligand-Shells Mediate Interactions between PbS Nanocrystals in Solution



Samuel W. Winslow, Yun Liu, James W. Swan, William A. Tisdale


The surface capping ligands on nanocrystals (NCs) impart colloidal stability and determine the organization into ordered solids when cast from solution. Here, we use small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) to measure the solution structure factor in dispersions of fully passivated, oleate-capped PbS NCs up to concentrations of 16 v/v%. Fitting the data by assuming an attractive square well interaction potential between NCs yields a repulsive core size larger than the physical NC core diameter. This repulsive core stems from a densely packed region of the ligand-shell near the NC surface. The spatial extent of the repulsive core increases with temperature as ligand motion increases, becoming repulsive farther out in the ligand-shell, while the portion of ligand-shell outside of the repulsive region remains attractive with a strength 1 kBT. This molecular understanding provides insight into the fundamental inter- particle interactions in colloidal nanocrystal suspensions.
Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters


SANS, quantum dots, nanocrystal, interaction


Winslow, S. , Liu, Y. , Swan, J. and Tisdale, W. (2021), Repulsive, Densely-Packed Ligand-Shells Mediate Interactions between PbS Nanocrystals in Solution, Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters (Accessed April 15, 2024)
Created April 15, 2021, Updated April 13, 2022