Synthesis of N-acetyl-L-cysteine-capped ZnCdSe quantum dots via hydrothermal method and their characterization

Fang Gao*, Yuying Liu, Yao Fan, Dan Zhao

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number055001
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalScience and Technology of Advanced Materials
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • hydrothermal route
  • NAC
  • QDs
  • ZnCdSe


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