The Role of Ligand Packing Frustration in Body-Centered Cubic (bcc) Superlattices of Colloidal Nanocrystals

by Goodfellow, Brian W.; Yu, Yixuan; Bosoy, Christian A.; Smilgies, Detlef-M.; Korgel, Brian A.


This paper addresses the assembly of body centered-cubic (bcc) superlattices of organic ligand-coated nanocrystals. First, examples of bcc superlattices of dodecanethiol-capped Au nanocrystals and oleic acid-capped PbS and PbSe nanocrystals are presented and examined by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and grazing incidence small-angle X-ray scattering (GISAXS). These superlattices tend to orient on their densest (110) superlattice planes and exhibit a significant amount of {112} twinning. The same nanocrystals deposit as monolayers with hexagonal packing, and these thin films can coexist with thicker bcc superlattice layers, even though there is no hexagonal plane in a bcc lattice. Both the preference of bcc in bulk films over the denser face-centered cubic (fcc) superlattice structure and the transition to hexagonal monolayers can be rationalized in terms of packing frustration of the ligands. A model is presented to calculate the difference in entropy associated with capping ligand packing frustration in bcc and fcc superlattices.

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