Colloidal semiconductor nanocrystals (NCs), called quantum dots (QDs), have been intensively studied because of their excellent photoluminescence (PL) quantum yields. However, commercial QDs such as CdSe and InP contain toxic or expensive rare elements, limiting their sustainable use. This study focuses on nontoxic, stable, and cheap tin oxides, and synthesized luminescent SnO2 NCs of ≈2 nm in size by a heating-up method. Tin precursors and diols in a high-boiling point solvent with oleylamine as the surfactant are heated at 240 °C. SnO2 NCs show defect-related photoluminescence at 400–460 nm by excitation at 370 nm, achieving a high quantum yield of more than 60%. The PL intensity is stable even when the NCs are stored in atmospheric air at room temperature for over 1 year. The defect-related emissions of the SnO2 NCs are studied using polyoxometalates (POMs) as the PL quencher. POMs efficiently quench the PL emissions by extracting excited electrons from the conduction band and shallow surface defects. The results reveal that PL emissions from SnO2 NCs are associated with radiative charge recombination via shallow defect levels on the surface and in the bulk, demonstrating the effectiveness of the PL quenching technique using POMs in studying the PL emission mechanism in QDs.
- tin dioxide