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Li, Wei; Döblinger, Markus; Vaneski, Aleksandar; Rogach, Andrey L.; Jäckel, Frank and Feldmann, Jochen (2011): Pyrite nanocrystals: shape-controlled synthesis and tunable optical properties via reversible self-assembly. In: Journal of Materials Chemistry, Vol. 21, No. 44: pp. 17946-17952 [PDF, 622kB]


Nanocrystals from non-toxic, earth abundant materials have recently received great interest for their potential large-scale application in photovoltaics and photocatalysis. Here, we report for the first time on the shape-controlled and scalable synthesis of phase-pure pyrite (FeS2) nanocrystals employing the simple, inexpensive, thermal reaction of iron–oleylamine complexes with sulfur in oleylamine. Either dendritic nanocrystals (nanodendrites) or nanocubes are obtained by adjusting the iron-oleylamine concentration and thereby controlling the nucleus concentration and kinetics of the nanocrystal growth. Pyrite nanodendrites are reversibly assembled by washing with toluene and redispersed by adding the ligand oleylamine. The assembly–redispersion-process is accompanied by an increased absorption in the red/near-infrared spectral region for the aggregated state. This increased low-energy absorption is due to interactions between the closed-packed nanocrystals. High-concentration nanodendrite dispersions are used to prepare pyrite thin films with strong broadband extinction in the visible and near-infrared. These films are attractive candidates for light harvesting in all inorganic solar cells based on earth abundant, non-toxic materials as well as for photocatalytic applications.

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