Jugun Prakash Chinta, Nir Waiskopf, Gur Lubin, David Rand, Yael Hanein, Uri Banin, and Shlomo Yitzchaik. 2017. “Carbon nanotube and semiconductor nanorods hybrids: preparation, characterization, and evaluation of photocurrent generation.” Langmuir, 33, 22, Pp. 5519-5526. Publisher's Version Abstract

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Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and semiconductor nanocrystals (SCNCs) are known to be interesting donor–acceptor partners due to their unique optical and electronic properties. These exciting features have led to the development of novel composites based on these two nanomaterials and to their characterization for use in various applications, such as components in sensors, transistors, solar cells and biomedical devices. Two approaches based on covalent and noncovalent methods have been suggested for coupling the SCNCs to CNTs. Most covalent conjugation methods used so far were found to disrupt the electronic structure of the CNTs or interfere with charge transfer in the CNT–SCNC interface. Moreover, it offers random and poorly organized nanoparticle coatings. Therefore, noncovalent methods are considered to be ideal for better electronic coupling. However, a key common drawback of noncovalent methods is the lack of stability which hampers their applicability. In this article, a method has been developed to couple semiconductor seeded nanorods onto CNTs through π–π interactions. The CNTs and pyrene conjugated SCNC hybrid materials were characterized by both microscopic and spectroscopic techniques. Fluorescence and photocurrent measurements suggest the proposed pi-stacking approach results in a strong electronic coupling between the CNTs and the SCNCs leading to better photocurrent efficiency than that of a covalent conjugation method reported using similar SCNC material. Overall, the CNT–SCNC films reported in the present study open the scope for the fabrication of optoelectronic devices for various applications.

Gil Aizik, Nir Waiskopf, Majd Agbaria, Yael Levi-Kalisman, Uri Banin, and Gershon Golomb. 2017. “Delivery of liposomal quantum dots via monocytes for imaging of inflamed tissue.” ACS nano, 11, 3, Pp. 3038-3051. Publisher's Version Abstract

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Quantum dots (QDs), semiconductor nanocrystals, are fluorescent nanoparticles of growing interest as an imaging tool of a diseased tissue. However, a major concern is their biocompatibility, cytotoxicity, and fluorescence instability in biological milieu, impeding their use in biomedical applications, in general, and for inflammation imaging, in particular. In addition, for an efficient fluorescent signal at the desired tissue, and avoiding systemic biodistribution and possible toxicity, targeting is desired. We hypothesized that phagocytic cells of the innate immunity system (mainly circulating monocytes) can be exploited as transporters of specially designed liposomes containing QDs to the inflamed tissue. We developed a liposomal delivery system of QDs (LipQDs) characterized with high encapsulation yield, enhanced optical properties including far-red emission wavelength and fluorescent stability, high quantum yield, and protracted fluorescent decay lifetime. Treatment with LipQDs, rather than free QDs, exhibited high accumulation and retention following intravenous administration in carotid-injured rats (an inflammatory model). QD–monocyte colocalization was detected in the inflamed arterial segment only following treatment with LipQDs. No cytotoxicity was observed following LipQD treatment in cell cultures, and changes in liver enzymes and gross histopathological changes were not detected in mice and rats, respectively. Our results suggest that the LipQD formulation could be a promising strategy for imaging inflammation.

Botao Ji, Yossef E Panfil, and Uri Banin. 2017. “Heavy-metal-free fluorescent ZnTe/ZnSe nanodumbbells.” ACS nano, 11, 7, Pp. 7312-7320. Publisher's Version Abstract

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For visible range emitting particles, which are relevant for display and additional applications, Cd-chalcogenide nanocrystals have reached the highest degree of control and performance. Considering potential toxicity and regulatory limitations, there is a challenge to successfully develop Cd-free emitting nanocrystals and, in particular, heterostructures with desirable properties. Herein, we report a colloidal synthesis of fluorescent heavy-metal-free Zn-chalcogenide semiconductor nanodumbbells (NDBs), in which ZnSe tips were selectively grown on the apexes of ZnTe rods, as evidenced by a variety of methods. The fluorescence of the NDBs can be tuned between ∼500 and 585 nm by changing the ZnSe tip size. The emission quantum yield can be greatly increased through chloride surface treatment and reaches more than 30%. Simulations within an effective-mass-based model show that the hole wave function is spread over the ZnTe nanorods, while the electron wave function is localized on the ZnSe tips. Quantitative agreement for the red-shifted emission wavelength is obtained between the simulations and the experiments. Additionally, the changes in radiative lifetimes correlate well with the calculated decrease in electron–hole overlap upon growth of larger ZnSe tips. The heavy-metal-free ZnTe/ZnSe NDBs may be relevant for optoelectronic applications such as displays or light-emitting diodes.

Yuval Ben-Shahar and Uri Banin. 2017. “Hybrid semiconductor–metal nanorods as photocatalysts.” In Photoactive Semiconductor Nanocrystal Quantum Dots, Pp. 149-174. Springer. Publisher's Version Abstract

Hybrid nanoparticles combine two or more disparate materials on the same nanosystem and represent a powerful approach for achieving advanced materials with multiple functionalities stemming from the unusual materials combinations. This review focuses on recent advances in the area of semiconductor–metal hybrid nanoparticles. Synthesis approaches offering high degree of control over the number of components, their compositions, shapes, and interfacial characteristics are discussed, including examples of advanced architectures. Progress in hybrid nanoscale inorganic cage structures prepared by a selective edge growth mechanism of the metal onto the semiconductor nanocrystal is also presented. The combined and often synergistic properties of the hybrid nanoparticles are described with emphasis on optical properties, electronic structure, electrical characteristics, and light induced charge separation effects. Progress toward the application of hybrid nanoparticles in photocatalysis is overviewed. We conclude with a summary and point out some challenges for further development and understanding of semiconductor–metal hybrid nanoparticles. This progress shows promise for application of hybrid nanoparticles in photocatalysis, catalysis, optical components, and electronic devices.

Uri Banin and Oded Millo. 2017. “Optical and Tunneling Spectroscopy of Semiconductor Nanocrystal Quantum Dots.” In Nanocrystal Quantum Dots, Pp. 281-310. CRC Press. Publisher's Version
Adam Faust, Yorai Amit, and Uri Banin. 2017. “Phonon–Plasmon Coupling and Active Cu Dopants in Indium Arsenide Nanocrystals Studied by Resonance Raman Spectroscopy.” The journal of physical chemistry letters, 8, 11, Pp. 2519-2525. Publisher's Version Abstract

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Doping of semiconductor nanocrystals is an emerging tool to control their properties and has recently received increased interest as the means to characterize the impurities and their effect on the electronic characteristics of the nanocrystal evolve. We present a temperature-dependent Raman scattering study of Cu-doped InAs nanocrystals observing changes in the relative scattering intensities of the different modes upon increased dopant concentrations. First, the longitudinal optical (LO) phonon overtone mode is suppressed, indicating weakening of the coupling strength related to the effect of screening by the free electrons. Second, the transverse optical (TO) mode is relatively enhanced compared to the LO mode, which is attributed to the appearance of a coupled phonon–plasmon mode analogous to observations for n-type doped bulk InAs. These signatures indicate that the Cu impurities serve as active dopants and occupy an impurity-related pseudo sub-band akin to the heavy doping limit.

Yuval Ben-Shahar, Kathy Vinokurov, Héloïse de Paz-Simon, Yosef Gofer, Matan Leiter, Uri Banin, and Yaron S Cohen. 2017. “Photoelectrochemistry of colloidal Cu 2 O nanocrystal layers: the role of interfacial chemistry.” Journal of Materials Chemistry A, 5, 42, Pp. 22255-22264. Publisher's Version Abstract

 the role of interfacial chemistry

Colloidal Cu2O nanocrystal layers on Au substrates are studied as photocathodes in the context of solar electrochemical water-splitting applications. The photoelectrochemical response of the nanocrystal layers in aqueous solutions under simulated solar light conditions depends strongly on the interfacial chemistry and its impact on the transport of the charge carriers across the Au/nanocrystals/liquid interfaces. The Cu2O nanocrystals are originally stabilized with octadecylamine ligands. While octadecylamine is an efficient capping ligand for the colloidal synthesis of highly uniform nanocrystals, its low conductivity impedes the charge transport across the Au/nanocrystals/liquid interfaces. The photoresponse of the nanocrystals can be enhanced by the replacement of the octadecylamine ligands with more conductive and hydrophilic molecules, such as 1,2-ethanedithiol and benzene-1,4-dithiol. The conductivity and hydrophilicity of the ligands were investigated and found to be important for the photo-induced charge separation and transport across the Au/nanocrystals/liquid interfaces and transfer to the liquid. Furthermore, the interfacial energetics of the Au/nanocrystals/liquid junction and the resulting photoresponse of the Cu2O nanocrystal photocathode can be optimized by rational design of the exchanging ligands with desired functionalities and dipoles at the specific interfaces. A comparison of the photoresponse of Cu2O nanocrystal layers to that of electrodeposited Cu2O layers shows that the former is, yet, lower, due to the apparent low conductivity of the ligands. However, the nanocrystal organic ligands impart high hydrophobicity, which prevents the contact of the aqueous solution with the nanocrystals and improves their stability against photocorrosion and reduction to Cu0, as confirmed by X-ray diffraction measurements.

Amol Ashok Pawar, Shira Halivni, Nir Waiskopf, Yuval Ben-Shahar, Michal Soreni-Harari, Sarah Bergbreiter, Uri Banin, and Shlomo Magdassi. 2017. “Rapid three-dimensional printing in water using semiconductor–metal hybrid nanoparticles as photoinitiators.” Nano letters, 17, 7, Pp. 4497-4501. Publisher's Version Abstract

Additive manufacturing processes enable fabrication of complex and functional three-dimensional (3D) objects ranging from engine parts to artificial organs. Photopolymerization, which is the most versatile technology enabling such processes through 3D printing, utilizes photoinitiators that break into radicals upon light absorption. We report on a new family of photoinitiators for 3D printing based on hybrid semiconductor–metal nanoparticles. Unlike conventional photoinitiators that are consumed upon irradiation, these particles form radicals through a photocatalytic process. Light absorption by the semiconductor nanorod is followed by charge separation and electron transfer to the metal tip, enabling redox reactions to form radicals in aerobic conditions. In particular, we demonstrate their use in 3D printing in water, where they simultaneously form hydroxyl radicals for the polymerization and consume dissolved oxygen that is a known inhibitor. We also demonstrate their potential for two-photon polymerization due to their giant two-photon absorption cross section.

Ido Hadar, John P Philbin, Yossef E Panfil, Shany Neyshtadt, Itai Lieberman, Hagai Eshet, Sorin Lazar, Eran Rabani, and Uri Banin. 2017. “Semiconductor seeded nanorods with graded composition exhibiting high quantum-yield, high polarization, and minimal blinking.” Nano letters, 17, 4, Pp. 2524-2531. Publisher's Version Abstract

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Seeded semiconductor nanorods represent a unique family of quantum confined materials that manifest characteristics of mixed dimensionality. They show polarized emission with high quantum yield and fluorescence switching under an electric field, features that are desirable for use in display technologies and other optical applications. So far, their robust synthesis has been limited mainly to CdSe/CdS heterostructures, thereby constraining the spectral tunability to the red region of the visible spectrum. Herein we present a novel synthesis of CdSe/Cd1–xZnxS seeded nanorods with a radially graded composition that show bright and highly polarized green emission with minimal intermittency, as confirmed by ensemble and single nanorods optical measurements. Atomistic pseudopotential simulations elucidate the importance of the Zn atoms within the nanorod structure, in particular the effect of the graded composition. Thus, the controlled addition of Zn influences and improves the nanorods’ optoelectronic performance by providing an additional handle to manipulate the degree confinement beyond the common size control approach. These nanorods may be utilized in applications that require the generation of a full, rich spectrum such as energy-efficient displays and lighting.

Yuval Ben-Shahar, Ilka Kriegel, Francesco Scotognella, Nir Waiskopf, Stefano Dal Conte, Luca Moretti, Giulio Cerullo, Eran Rabani, and Uri Banin. 2017. “Ultrafast carrier dynamics unravel role of surface ligands and metal domain size on the photocatalytic hydrogen evolution efficiency of Au-tipped CdS nanorods: an ultrafast transient absorption spectroscopy study”. Publisher's Version Abstract

Semiconductor-metal hybrid nanostructures are interesting materials for photocatalysis. Their tunable properties offer a highly controllable platform to design light-induced charge separation, a key to their function in photocatalytic water splitting. Hydrogen evolution quantum yields are influenced by factors as size, shape, material and morphology of the system, additionally the surface coating or the metal domain size play a dominant role.


In this paper we present a study on a well-defined model system of Au-tipped CdS nanorods. We use transient absorption spectroscopy to get insights into the charge carrier dynamics after photoexcitation of the bandgap of CdS nanorods. The study of charge transfer processes combined with the hydrogen evolution efficiency unravels the effects of surface coating and the gold tip size on the photocatalytic efficiency. Differences in efficiency with various surface ligands are primarily ascribed to the effects of surface passivation. Surface trapping of charge carriers is competing with effective charge separation, a prerequisite for photocatalysis, leading to the observed lower hydrogen production quantum yields. Interestingly, non-monotonic hydrogen evolution efficiency with size of the gold tip is observed, resulting in an optimal metal domain size for the most efficient photocatalysis. These results are explained by the sizedependent interplay of the metal domain charging and the relative band-alignments. Taken together our findings are of major importance for the potential application of hybrid nanoparticles as photocatalysts.

Jiajia Ning and Uri Banin. 2017. “Magic size InP and InAs clusters: synthesis, characterization and shell growth.” Chemical Communications, 53, 17, Pp. 2626-2629. Publisher's Version Abstract


Magic size III–V semiconductor nanoclusters were synthesized. Non-continuous transition of the absorption spectra upon mild heating of the reaction solution is observed, indicating transformation between differently sized clusters. Further manipulation of the clusters is demonstrated for an InP MSC by growing a ZnS and ZnSe shell aiming at blue fluorescence. The quantum yield is limited due to formation of interfacial defects for thick ZnS shells.

Orian Elimelech, Jing Liu, Anna M Plonka, Anatoly I Frenkel, and Uri Banin. 2017. “Size Dependence of Doping by a Vacancy Formation Reaction in Copper Sulfide Nanocrystals.” Angewandte Chemie, 129, 35, Pp. 10471-10476. Publisher's Version Abstract


Doping of nanocrystals (NCs) is a key, yet underexplored, approach for tuning of the electronic properties of semiconductors. An important route for doping of NCs is by vacancy formation. The size and concentration dependence of doping was studied in copper(I) sulfide (Cu2S) NCs through a redox reaction with iodine molecules (I2), which formed vacancies accompanied by a localized surface plasmon response. X‐ray spectroscopy and diffraction reveal transformation from Cu2S to Cu‐depleted phases, along with CuI formation. Greater reaction efficiency was observed for larger NCs. This behavior is attributed to interplay of the vacancy formation energy, which decreases for smaller sized NCs, and the growth of CuI on the NC surface, which is favored on well‐defined facets of larger NCs. This doping process allows tuning of the plasmonic properties of a semiconductor across a wide range of plasmonic frequencies by varying the size of NCs and the concentration of iodine. Controlled vacancy doping of NCs may be used to tune and tailor semiconductors for use in optoelectronic applications.