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Calcination does not remove all carbon from colloidal nanocrystal assemblies

TitleCalcination does not remove all carbon from colloidal nanocrystal assemblies
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsMohapatra, P, Shaw, S, Mendivelso-Perez, D, Bobbitt, JM, Silva, TF, Naab, F, Yuan, B, Tian, XC, Smith, EA, Cademartiri, L
JournalNature Communications
Date Published12
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number2041-1723
Accession NumberWOS:000417649500014
Keywords170.5-degrees backscattering, building-materials, cross-sections, grain-growth kinetics, he-4 energies, ion-beam analysis, ligands, photocatalytic activity, quantum dots, Technology - Other Topics, tio2 nanoparticles

Removing organics from hybrid nanostructures is a crucial step in many bottom-up materials fabrication approaches. It is usually assumed that calcination is an effective solution to this problem, especially for thin films. This assumption has led to its application in thousands of papers. We here show that this general assumption is incorrect by using a relevant and highly controlled model system consisting of thin films of ligand-capped ZrO2 nanocrystals. After calcination at 800 degrees C for 12 h, while Raman spectroscopy fails to detect the ligands after calcination, elastic backscattering spectrometry characterization demonstrates that similar to 18% of the original carbon atoms are still present in the film. By comparison plasma processing successfully removes the ligands. Our growth kinetic analysis shows that the calcined materials have significantly different interfacial properties than the plasma-processed counterparts. Calcination is not a reliable strategy for the production of single-phase allinorganic materials from colloidal nanoparticles.

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