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Title: Synthesis and characterisation of semiconductor nanoparticle thin films
Author: Cant, David
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2013
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Due to their unique properties, nanoparticles have been a focus of significant research interest for use in various opto-electronic applications, particularly in the field of solar energy generation. In order to realize a nanoparticle-based solar cell, it is important to be able to create thin films of organised nanoparticles and to be able to control their surface properties. In this work the use of a novel synthesis technique involving reaction at the interface between two immiscible liquids to synthesise thin films of lead sulfide nanoparticles on the order of ~10 nm in diameter is reported. The use of the liquid-liquid interface allows the synthesis of particles without the use of stabilising ligands, with sizes and morphologies determined by the conditions present at the interface. Variations in the precursor used, solvent height, and precursor concentration were explored. Films synthesised at various solvent heights displayed a decrease in particle size with increasing solvent height. This trend was seen to vary depending on the lead-containing precursor used. Changes in the precursor concentration resulted in changes in the morphology of the resulting particles as observed with transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Preferential growth along certain planes was observed for particles synthesised with the highest lead precursor concentration. Experiments with precursors with differing organic chain length displayed an increase in particle size with increasing chain length, as well as an increase in preferential growth observed by X-ray diffraction (XRD). Surface ageing was investigated using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) techniques, which showed that all samples followed a similar oxidation mechanism. Oxidised lead species, attributed to hydrated lead oxide, were determined to be the initial oxidation product, formed within a week of exposure to air. Sulfoxy species were observed to form over a greater length of time, with sulfate being determined to be the final oxidation product. An oxidation mechanism is proposed based on XPS analysis of films exposed to air for up to nine months.
Supervisor: Flavell, Wendy; O'Brien, Paul Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: semiconductor ; nanoparticle ; thin films ; solar ; photovoltaic ; nanocrystal