Colloidal synthesis of metastable zinc-blende IV-VI SnS nanocrystals with tunable sizes

Zhengtao Deng, Dongran Han, Yan Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


Here we report the colloidal synthesis of size-tunable SnS nanocrystals that have an unusual meta-stable cubic zinc-blende phase instead of the more stable layered orthorhombic phase. The single-crystalline zinc-blende SnS nanocrystals with sizes of 8 nm, 60 nm, and 700 nm were achieved by injecting the sulfur-oleylamine precursor into tin-oleylamine solution in the presence of hexamethyldisilazane (HMDS) at different temperatures. The morphology and structure of the SnS nanocrystals were studied by high-resolution electron microscopy techniques. The small SnS nanoparticles (∼8 nm and ∼60 nm) are nearly spherical and have the polyhedral shape. The large (∼700 nm) crystals display a unique crystal morphology that have Td symmetry with a truncated tetrahedron configuration, and the four truncated surfaces each outgrow to form a convex triangular pyramid corner. Careful structural analysis revealed that each of the crystal is enclosed by 4 low-index {111} hexangular facets and 12 high-index {220} triangular facets using a lift-out technique with a focused ion beam (FIB) and followed by high resolution electron microscope imaging. The direct band gaps of the different sized SnS nanocrystals range from 1.63 eV to 1.68 eV. These heavy-metal-free and low cost nanocrystals are highly efficient absorptive materials in the whole UV-visible range, suitable for applications in photovoltaic cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4346-4351
Number of pages6
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science


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