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The Trouble with 1-Octadecene; Polymerization During Nanocrystal Synthesis

preprint
submitted on 09.07.2019, 07:50 and posted on 09.07.2019, 14:36 by Evert Dhaene, Jonas Billet, Ellie Bennett, Isabel Van Driessche, Jonathan De Roo

1-octadecene is a widely used solvent for high temperature nanocrystal synthesis (120 – 320 °C). Here, we show that 1-octadecene spontaneously polymerizes under these conditions and the resulting poly(1-octadecene) has a comparable solubility and size to nanocrystals stabilized by hydrophobic ligands. Typical purification procedures (precipitation/redispersion cycles or size exclusion chromatography) fail to separate the poly(1-octadecene) impurity from the nanocrystal product. To avoid formation of poly(1-octadecene), we replaced 1-octadecene with saturated, aliphatic solvents. Alternatively, the native ligands are exchanged for polar ligands, leading to significant solubility differences between nanocrystals and poly(1-octadecene), therefore allowing isolation of pure nanocrystals, free from polymer impurities. These results will help design superior syntheses and improve nanocrystal purity, an important factor in many applications.

Funding

FWO Vlaanderen

H2020-MSCA-RISE-2015-691185

Ghent University (BOF2015/GOA/007)

Fulbright

Belgian American Education Foundation

History

Email Address of Submitting Author

jonathan.deroo@unibas.ch

Institution

University of Basel

Country

Switzerland

ORCID For Submitting Author

0000-0002-1264-9312

Declaration of Conflict of Interest

no conflict of interest

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