Compared with the most studied green-red emitting (530-650 nm) quantum dots (QDs), the preparation of short-wavelength-emitting QDs remains difficult. Besides, one of the representative short-wavelength QDs materials, ZnCdSe, has a shortcoming of high content of toxic cadmium metal. In this paper, we report the synthesis of high-quality water-soluble ZnCdSe QDs via optimized one-step hydrothermal method with a new thiol as ligand, within a short time of 65 min. The emission wavelength of prepared QDs is tunable in the range of 425-540 nm by merely controlling the molar ratio of Cd:Zn or Se:Zn, and the quantum yield reaches 35%. More importantly, the maximum Cd:Zn molar ratio has been reduced to 0.04:1.0, much lower than that reported in the literature (0.5:1.0), resulting in excellent biological compatibility of prepared QDs and thus their promising applications in biological fields. Moreover, the transmission electron microscopy was employed to examine the effect of Cd:Zn ratio on the size of prepared ZnCdSe QDs, which were also characterized by x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and electron diffraction spectroscopy.
- hydrothermal route