Processing and characterization of stable, pH-sensitive layer-by-layer modified colloidal quantum dots. Academic Article uri icon


  • Quantum Dots (QDs) stabilized with dihydrolipoic acid (DHLA) were used as a template for layer-by-layer (LbL) modification to study the effect on the QD optical properties. We studied several different polyelectrolytes to determine that large quantities of monodisperse DHLA-QDs could only be obtained with the weak polyelectrolyte pair of poly(allylamine hydrochloride) (PAH) and poly(acrylic acid) (PAA). The key to this success was the development of a two-step method to split the LbL process into adsorption and centrifugation phases, which require different pH solutions for optimum success. Solution pH is highlighted as an important factor to achieve sufficient QD surface coverage and QD recovery during wash cycles. We optimized the process to scale up synthesis by introducing a solvent precipitation step before ultracentrifugation that, when coupled with the correct pH conditions, results in a mean QD recovery of 86-90% after three wash cycles. We found that adsorption of PAH had a negligible effect on the quantum yield and lifetime but an additional layer of PAA resulted in a substantial decrease in both quantum yield and lifetime that could not be recovered by the addition of more layers. The PAH coating provides a protective coating that extends DHLA-QDs stability, prevents photo-oxidation mediated aggregation, alleviates concerns over batch variability, and results in pH-dependent emission.

published proceedings

  • ACS Nano

author list (cited authors)

  • Nagaraja, A. T., Sooresh, A., Meissner, K. E., & McShane, M. J.

citation count

  • 28

complete list of authors

  • Nagaraja, Ashvin T||Sooresh, Aishwarya||Meissner, Kenith E||McShane, Michael J

publication date

  • July 2013