NATURE MATERIALS | REVIEW
The surface science of nanocrystals
Michael A. Boles, Daishun Ling, Taeghwan Hyeon & Dmitri V. Talapin
Nature Materials 15, 141–153 (2016) doi:10.1038/nmat4526
Received 12 March 2015 Accepted 27 November 2015 Published online 22 January 2016
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Abstract• References• Author information
All nanomaterials share a common feature of large surface-to-volume ratio, making their surfaces the dominant player in many physical and chemical processes. Surface ligands — molecules that bind to the surface — are an essential component of nanomaterial synthesis, processing and application. Understanding the structure and properties of nanoscale interfaces requires an intricate mix of concepts and techniques borrowed from surface science and coordination chemistry. Our Review elaborates these connections and discusses the bonding, electronic structure and chemical transformations at nanomaterial surfaces. We specifically focus on the role of surface ligands in tuning and rationally designing properties of functional nanomaterials. Given their importance for biomedical (imaging, diagnostics and therapeutics) and optoelectronic (light-emitting devices, transistors, solar cells) applications, we end with an assessment of application-targeted surface engineering.