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Chemistry of Nanocrystals: the role of organic surfactants

The chemical synthesis of nanocrystals is a powerful way to produce inorganic nano-objects with fine tuning of their morphology. Most wet chemical approaches require the use of organic surfactants, which are crucial to the formation process and play multiple roles. These organic species initially control the nucleation and growth of the nanocrystals, determining their size, shape, and surface properties. As the synthesis progresses, organic surfactants become essential in stabilizing the nanocrystals, preventing aggregation, and ensuring colloidal stability. However, their presence can also influence the resulting optical, magnetic, and electrical properties of the nanomaterials. While offering versatility and tunability from a morphological point of view, organic surfactants can also introduce limitations, such as hindered charge transport or reduced emission quantum efficiency, depending on the intended application. Understanding the intricate interplay between organic surfactants and the inorganic core of the nanocrystals is essential to harness the full potential of wet-chemically produced nanomaterials in various technological applications.

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