High-Temperature Synthesis of CdSe-Based Core/Shell, Core/Shell/Shell, and Core/Graded-Shell Nanoplatelets for Stable and Efficient Narrowband Emitters

Colloidal semiconductor nanoplatelets exhibit exceptionally narrow photoluminescence spectra. This occurs because samples can be synthesized in which all nanoplatelets share the same atomic-scale thickness. As this dimension sets the emission wavelength, inhomogeneous linewidth broadening due to size variation, which is always present in samples of quasi-spherical nanocrystals (quantum dots), is essentially eliminated. Nanoplatelets thus offer improved, spectrally pure emitters for various applications. Unfortunately, due to their non-equilibrium shape, nanoplatelets also suffer from low photo-, chemical, and thermal stability, which limits their use. Moreover, their poor stability hampers the development of efficient synthesis protocols for adding high-quality protective inorganic shells, which are well known to improve the performance of quantum dots.
Herein, we report a general synthesis approach to highly emissive and stable core/shell nanoplatelets with various shell compositions, including CdSe/ZnS, CdSe/CdS/ZnS, CdSe/CdxZn1–xS, and CdSe/ZnSe. Motivated by previous work on quantum dots, we find that slow, high-temperature growth of shells containing a compositional gradient reduces strain-induced crystal defects and minimizes the emission linewidth while maintaining good surface passivation and nanocrystal uniformity. Indeed, our best core/shell nanoplatelets (CdSe/CdxZn1–xS) show photoluminescence quantum yields of 90% with linewidths as low as 56 meV (19.5 nm at 655 nm). To confirm the high quality of our different core/shell nanoplatelets for a specific application, we demonstrate their use as gain media in low-threshold ring lasers. More generally, the ability of our synthesis protocol to engineer high-quality shells can help further improve nanoplatelets for optoelectronic devices.