Colloidal inorganic nanocrystals (NCs) are among the most investigated nanomaterials in Nanoscience due to their high versatility. Research on NCs went through much advancement lately, especially on synthesis, assembly and on the study of their transformations, most notably via cation exchange (all fields in which the PI has contributed already). However, the integration of NCs with fabrication tools that employ conditions such as irradiation, etching and annealing is at a very early stage since we do not have a systematic knowledge of what transformations are triggered in the NCs under those conditions. Also, an issue related to the incorporation of NCs in materials/devices is whether, over time, the NCs will remain as they are, or they will transform into other structures. Plus, these transformations in NCs are poorly studied as they require fast recording techniques. This proposal will embark on an ambitious investigation of post-synthetic transformations in solution-grown NCs: by advancing the understanding of various aspects of chemical, structural and surface transformation of NCs, we will uncover new fabrication techniques that will employ such nanostructures as the key ingredients. This in turn will have a strong impact in opto-electronics, as several electronic components entirely made of NCs will be delivered. Four objectives are targeted: i) developing radically new sets of experimental tools for the investigation of chemical transformations in NCs, above all the ability to monitor in real time these transformations; ii) developing solution-grown nanostructures able to undergo programmed transformations under a defined stimulus; iii) understanding the role of irradiation on the fate of surface ligands and on cation exchange reactions in NCs; iv) combining chemical, structural and surface transformations towards NC-based opto-electronics. The success of the proposal hinges on the proven capabilities of the PI, with ample support from the host Institution.
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