Uri Banin, Adiel Zimran, Itai Lieberman, and Amit Sitt. 2018. “Anistropic semiconductor nanoparticles.” United States of America. Publisher's Version Abstract

The present invention provides seeded rod (SR) nanostructure systems including an elongated structure embedded with a seed structure being a core/shell structure or a single-material rod element. The SR systems disclosed herein are suitable for use in a variety of electronic and optical devices.

Yuval Ben-Shahar, John P Philbin, Francesco Scotognella, Lucia Ganzer, Giulio Cerullo, Eran Rabani, and Uri Banin. 2018. “Charge Carrier Dynamics in Photocatalytic Hybrid Semiconductor–Metal Nanorods: Crossover from Auger Recombination to Charge Transfer.” Nano letters, 18, 8, Pp. 5211-5216. Publisher's Version Abstract

"Hybrid semiconductor–metal nanoparticles (HNPs) manifest unique, synergistic electronic and optical properties as a result of combining semiconductor and metal physics via a controlled interface. These structures can exhibit spatial charge separation across the semiconductor–metal junction upon light absorption, enabling their use as photocatalysts. The combination of the photocatalytic activity of the metal domain with the ability to generate and accommodate multiple excitons in the semiconducting domain can lead to improved photocatalytic performance because injecting multiple charge carriers into the active catalytic sites can increase the quantum yield. Herein, we show a significant metal domain size dependence of the charge carrier dynamics as well as the photocatalytic hydrogen generation efficiencies under nonlinear excitation conditions. An understanding of this size dependence allows one to control the charge carrier dynamics following the absorption of light. Using a model hybrid semiconductor–metal CdS–Au nanorod system and combining transient absorption and hydrogen evolution kinetics, we reveal faster and more efficient charge separation and transfer under multiexciton excitation conditions for large metal domains compared to small ones. Theoretical modeling uncovers a competition between the kinetics of Auger recombination and charge separation. A crossover in the dominant process from Auger recombination to charge separation as the metal domain size increases allows for effective multiexciton dissociation and harvesting in large metal domain HNPs. This was also found to lead to relative improvement of their photocatalytic activity under nonlinear excitation conditions."

Yossef E Panfil, Meirav Oded, and Uri Banin. 2018. “Colloidal quantum nanostructures: emerging materials for display applications.” Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 57, 16, Pp. 4274-4295. Publisher's Version Abstract


"Colloidal semiconductor nanocrystals (SCNCs) or, more broadly, colloidal quantum nanostructures constitute outstanding model systems for investigating size and dimensionality effects. Their nanoscale dimensions lead to quantum confinement effects that enable tuning of their optical and electronic properties. Thus, emission color control with narrow photoluminescence spectra, wide absorbance spectra, and outstanding photostability, combined with their chemical processability through control of their surface chemistry leads to the emergence of SCNCs as outstanding materials for present and next‐generation displays. In this Review, we present the fundamental chemical and physical properties of SCNCs, followed by a description of the advantages of different colloidal quantum nanostructures for display applications. The open challenges with respect to their optical activity are addressed. Both photoluminescent and electroluminescent display scenarios utilizing SCNCs are described."

Jiajia Ning, Jing Liu, Yael Levi-Kalisman, Anatoly I Frenkel, and Uri Banin. 2018. “Controlling anisotropic growth of colloidal ZnSe nanostructures.” Journal of the American Chemical Society, 140, 44, Pp. 14627-14637. Publisher's Version Abstract

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"Semiconductor nanocrystals serve as outstanding model systems for studying quantum confined size and shape effects. Shape control is an important knob for controlling their properties but so far it has been well developed mainly for heavy-metal containing semiconductor nanocrystals, limiting their further widespread utilization. Herein, we report a synthesis of heavy-metal free ZnSe nanocrystals with shape and size control through utilization of well-defined molecular clusters. In this approach, ZnSe nanowires are synthesized and their length and shape control is achieved by introduction of controlled amounts of molecular clusters. As a result of [Zn4(SPh)10](Me4N)2 clusters (Zn4 clusters) addition, short ZnSe nanorods or ZnSe nanodots can be obtained through tuning the ratio of Zn4 clusters to ZnSe. A study using transmission electron microscopy revealed the formation of a hybrid inorganic–organic nanowire, whereby the ligands form a template for self-assembly of ZnSe magic size clusters. The hybrid nanowire template becomes shorter and eventually disappears upon increasing amount of Zn4 clusters in the reaction. The generality of the method is demonstrated by using isostructural [Cu4(SPh)6](Me4N)2 clusters, which presented a new approach to Cu doped ZnSe nanocrystals and provided also a unique opportunity to employ X-ray absorption fine structure spectroscopy for deciphering the changes in the local atomic-scale environment of the clusters and explaining their role in the process of the nanorods formation. Overall, the introduction of molecular clusters presented here opens a path for growth of colloidal semiconductor nanorods, expanding the palette of materials selection with obvious implications for optoelectronic and biomedical applications."

Uri Banin and Yuval Ben-Shahar. 2018. “A hybrid solution.” Nature Energy, 3, 10, Pp. 824-825. Publisher's Version Abstract


Photocatalytic water splitting is a route to clean H2, but approaches based on hybrid semiconductor–metal nanoparticles often rely on sacrificial reagents to complete the oxidation half of the overall reaction. New research uses CdS nanocrystals modified with metallic and molecular co-catalysts to simultaneously produce H2 and O2 from water using visible light.

Douglas R Nevers, Curtis B Williamson, Benjamin H Savitzky, Ido Hadar, Uri Banin, Lena F Kourkoutis, Tobias Hanrath, and Richard D Robinson. 2018. “Mesophase formation stabilizes high-purity magic-sized clusters.” Journal of the American Chemical Society, 140, 10, Pp. 3652-3662. Publisher's Version Abstract

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"Magic-sized clusters (MSCs) are renowned for their identical size and closed-shell stability that inhibit conventional nanoparticle (NP) growth processes. Though MSCs have been of increasing interest, understanding the reaction pathways toward their nucleation and stabilization is an outstanding issue. In this work, we demonstrate that high concentration synthesis (1000 mM) promotes a well-defined reaction pathway to form high-purity MSCs (>99.9%). The MSCs are resistant to typical growth and dissolution processes. On the basis of insights from in situ X-ray scattering analysis, we attribute this stability to the accompanying production of a large (>100 nm grain size), hexagonal organic–inorganic mesophase that arrests growth of the MSCs and prevents NP growth. At intermediate concentrations (500 mM), the MSC mesophase forms, but is unstable, resulting in NP growth at the expense of the assemblies. These results provide an alternate explanation for the high stability of MSCs. Whereas the conventional mantra has been that the stability of MSCs derives from the precise arrangement of the inorganic structures (i.e., closed-shell atomic packing), we demonstrate that anisotropic clusters can also be stabilized by self-forming fibrous mesophase assemblies. At lower concentration (<200 mM or >16 acid-to-metal), MSCs are further destabilized and NPs formation dominates that of MSCs. Overall, the high concentration approach intensifies and showcases inherent concentration-dependent surfactant phase behavior that is not accessible in conventional (i.e., dilute) conditions. This work provides not only a robust method to synthesize, stabilize, and study identical MSC products but also uncovers an underappreciated stabilizing interaction between surfactants and clusters."

David Stone, Yuval Ben‐Shahar, Nir Waiskopf, and Uri Banin. 2018. “The Metal Type Governs Photocatalytic Reactive Oxygen Species Formation by Semiconductor‐Metal Hybrid Nanoparticles.” ChemCatChem, 10, 22, Pp. 5119-5123. Publisher's Version Abstract


Semiconductor‐metal hybrid nanoparticles (HNPs) are promising photocatalysts for redox reactions, including water reduction for hydrogen generation and reactive oxygen species (ROS) formation. Herein we study the effect of the metal co‐catalyst type on the light‐induced ROS formation using a combination of spectrophotometric and fluorescence assays, as well as electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy. We find that although Pt tips are more efficient for H2 generation, hydrogen peroxide and hydroxyl radicals are formed more effectively by Au tipped HNPs. These variations are attributed to the different surface reactivity and selectivity related to the metal tip composition. The obtained understanding contributes to the optimal design of these hybrid nanosystems as photocatalysts in various ROS‐driven applications such as photopolymerization, and environmental and biomedical scenarios.

Nir Waiskopf, Yuval Ben‐Shahar, and Uri Banin. 2018. “Photocatalytic hybrid semiconductor–metal nanoparticles; from synergistic properties to emerging applications.” Advanced Materials, 30, 41, Pp. 1706697. Publisher's Version Abstract


Hybrid semiconductor–metal nanoparticles (HNPs) manifest unique combined and often synergetic properties stemming from the materials combination. These structures exhibit spatial charge separation across the semiconductor–metal junction upon light absorption, enabling their use as photocatalysts. So far, the main impetus of photocatalysis research in HNPs addresses their functionality in solar fuel generation. Recently, it was discovered that HNPs are functional in efficient photocatalytic generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). This has opened the path for their implementation in diverse biomedical and industrial applications where high spatially temporally resolved ROS formation is essential. Here, the latest studies on the synergistic characteristics of HNPs are summarized, including their optical, electrical, and chemical properties and their photocatalytic function in the field of solar fuel generation is briefly discussed. Recent studies are then focused concerning photocatalytic ROS formation with HNPs under aerobic conditions. The emergent applications of this capacity are then highlighted, including light‐induced modulation of enzymatic activity, photodynamic therapy, antifouling, wound healing, and as novel photoinitiators for 3D‐printing. The superb photophysical and photocatalytic properties of HNPs offer already clear advantages for their utility in scenarios requiring on‐demand light‐induced radical formation and the full potential of HNPs in this context is yet to be revealed.