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The formation pathway of aqueous-phase colloidal semiconductor magic-size clusters (MSCs) remains unrevealed. In the present work, we demonstrate, for the first time, a precursor compound (PC)-enabled formation pathway of aqueous-phase CdSe MSCs exhibiting a sharp absorption peaking at about 420 nm (MSC-420). The CdSe MSC-420 is synthesized with CdCl2 and selenourea as the respective Cd and Se sources, and with 3-mercaptopropionic acid or L-cysteine as a ligand. Absorption featureless CdSe PCs form first in the aqueous reaction batches, which transform to MSC-420 in the presence of primary amines. The coordination between primary amine and Cd2+ on PCs may be responsible to the PC-to-MSC transformation. Upon increasing the reactant concentrations or decreasing the CdCl2-ligand feed molar ratios, the Cd precursor self-assembles into large aggregates, which may encapsulate the resulting CdSe PCs and inhibit their transformation to MSC-420. The present study sheds essential light on the syntheses and formation mechanisms of nanocrystals.

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Publication history

Received: 05 July 2021
Revised: 25 August 2021
Accepted: 02 September 2021
Published: 18 September 2021
Issue date: March 2022

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© Tsinghua University Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2021

Acknowledgements

Acknowledgements

K. Y. thanks the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 21773162), the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities, the Applied Basic Research Programs of Science and Technology Department of Sichuan Province (No. 2020YJ0326), the State Key Laboratory of Polymer Materials Engineering of Sichuan University (No. sklpme2020-2-09), the Open Project of Key State Laboratory for Supramolecular Structures and Materials of Jilin University (No. SKLSSM 2021030), and the National Major Scientific and Technological Special Project for “Significant New Drugs Development” (No. 2019ZX09201005-005-002). M. Z. is grateful to the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 22002099), China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (No. 2020T130441), Sichuan University postdoctoral interdisciplinary Innovation Fund, and the Open Project of Key State Laboratory for Supramolecular Structures and Materials of Jilin University (No. SKLSSM 2021032). We would like to thank the Analytical & Testing Center of Sichuan University for both ESI-MS and NMR measurements.

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Email: nanores@tup.tsinghua.edu.cn

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