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Silicon quantum dots (SiQDs), with their broad absorption, narrow and size-tunable emission, and potential biocompatibility are highly attractive materials in biological imaging applications. The inherent hydrophobicity and instability of hydrogen-terminated SiQDs are obstacles to their widespread implementation. In this work, we successfully produced highly luminescent, hydrophilic SiQDs with long-term stability in water using non-thermal plasma techniques. Hydrogen-terminated SiQDs were produced in a low-pressure plasma and subsequently treated in water using an atmospheric-pressure plasma jet for surface modification. Preliminary assessments of the chemical mechanism(s) involved in the creation of water-soluble SiQDs were performed using Fenton's reaction and various plasma chemistries, suggesting both OH and O species play a key role in the oxidation of the SiQDs.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Nanocrystal synthesis and material characterization were supported by the National Science Foundation, MRSEC Program under grant DMR-1420013, and micro-plasma treatment was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Fusion Energy Sciences, Department of Energy Plasma Science Center Program under award number DE-SC0001939. Parts of this work were carried out in the College of Science and Engineering Characterization Facility, University of Minnesota, which receives partial support from NSF through the NNIN program.
© 2016 IOP Publishing Ltd.
- silicon quantum dots
- water soluble
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