Physico-chemical investigation of ZnS thin-film deposited from ligand-free nanocrystals synthesized by non-hydrolytic thio-sol-gel

Silvano Del Gobbo*, Alexander D. Mottram, Samy Ould-Chikh, Jidapa Chaopaknam, Pichaya Pattanasattayavong, Valerio D Elia

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Ultra-small and monodispersed zinc sulfide nanocrystals (NCs) (d ≤ 3 nm) have been prepared without the use of any surfactants by a synthetic route using benzyl mercaptan as a source of sulfur. The prepared NCs are dispersible in highly polar solvents and display the capability to closely pack-up in a bulky film. The NCs were characterized by TEM, XRD and UV-vis optical absorption as well as by steady-state and time-resolved photoluminescence (PL) spectroscopies. Uniform films of ZnS were spin-coated on glass and ITO-glass substrates using a NCs dispersion in N,N-dimethylformamide. The NCs and the resulting films were characterized by morphological and optoelectronic probing techniques such as AFM, SEM, diffuse reflectance, PL and photoelectron spectroscopy in air. These physical investigations confirmed that the chalcogenide NCs grown by this method have the potential to be utilized directly as photocatalysts and are potentially useful building-blocks/starting materials for the fabrication of semiconductor thin films for optoelectronic applications such as LED, luminescent screens, field effect transistor and solar cells. Insights on the chemistry involved in the NCs growth have been provided revealing that their formation proceeds through a mechanism involving a thioether elimination reaction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number385603
Issue number38
StatePublished - Jul 12 2018


  • chalcogenide thin-film
  • non-hydrolytic thio-sol-gel
  • optoelectronic properties
  • synthesis mechanism
  • zinc sulfide nanocrystals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Bioengineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • General Materials Science


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