Nature Materials

Synergism in binary nanocrystal superlattices leads to enhanced p-type conductivity in self-assembled PbTe/Ag2Te thin films

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The ordered cocrystallization of nanoparticles into binary superlattices enables close contact of nanocrystals with distinct physical properties, providing a route to metamaterials design. Here we present the first electronic measurements of multicomponent nanocrystal solids composed of PbTe and Ag"2Te, demonstrating synergistic effects leading to enhanced p-type conductivity. First, syntheses of size-tuneable PbTe and Ag"2Te nanocrystals are presented, along with deposition as thin-film nanocrystal solids, whose electronic transport properties are characterized. Next, assembly of PbTe and Ag"2Te nanocrystals into AB binary nanocrystal superlattices is demonstrated. Furthermore, binary composites of varying PbTe-Ag"2Te stoichiometry (1:1 and 5:1) are prepared and electronically characterized. These composites show strongly enhanced (conductance 100-fold increased in 1:1 composites over the sum of individual conductances of single-component PbTe and Ag"2Te films) p-type electronic conductivity. This observation, consistent with the role of Ag"2Te as a p-type dopant in bulk PbTe, demonstrates that nanocrystals can behave as dopants in nanostructured assemblies. © 2007 Nature Publishing Group.