Mercaptosilane-Passivated CuInS2 Quantum Dots for Luminescence Thermometry and Luminescent Labels

Riccardo Marin, Alvise Vivian, Artiom Skripka, Andrea Migliori, Vittorio Morandi, Francesco Enrichi, Fiorenzo Vetrone, Paola Ceroni, Carmela Aprile, Patrizia Canton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bright and nontoxic quantum dots (QDs) are highly desirable in a variety of applications, from solid-state devices to luminescent probes in assays. However, the processability of these species is often curbed by their surface chemistry, which limits their dispersibility in selected solvents. This renders a surface modification step often mandatory to make the QDs compatible with the solvent of interest. Here, we present a new synthetic approach to produce CuInS2 QDs compatible with organic polar solvents and readily usable for the preparation of composite materials. 3-Mercaptopropyl trimethoxysilane (MPTS) was used simultaneously as solvent, sulfur source, and capping agent for the QD synthesis. The synthesized QDs possessed a maximum photoluminescence quantum yield around 6%, reaching approximately 55% after growing a ZnS shell. The partial condensation of MPTS molecules on the surface of QDs was probed by solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance, whose results were used to interpret the interaction of the QDs with different solvents. To prove the versatility of the developed QDs, imparted by the thiolated silane molecules, we prepared via straightforward procedures two nanocomposites of practical interest: (i) silica nanoparticles decorated with QDs and (ii) an inexpensive polymeric film with embedded QDs. We further demonstrate the potential of this composite film as a luminescence thermometer operational over a broad temperature interval, with relative thermal sensitivity above 1% K-1 in the range of biological interest. ©

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2426-2436
Number of pages11
JournalACS Applied Nano Materials
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 26 Apr 2019


  • composites
  • CuInS
  • luminescence thermometry
  • luminescent films
  • quantum dots
  • silane
  • thiolates


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