Iron pyrite (fool's gold, FeS2) is a promising earth abundant and environmentally benign semiconductor material that shows promise as a strong and broad absorber for photovoltaics and high energy density cathode material for batteries. However, controlling FeS2 nanocrystal formation (composition, size, shape, stoichiometry, etc.) and defect mitigation still remains a challenge. These problems represent significant limitations in the ability to control electrical, optical and electrochemical properties to exploit pyrite's full potential for sustainable energy applications. Here, we report a symmetry-defying oriented attachment FeS2 nanocrystal growth by examining the nanostructure evolution and recrystallization to uncover how the shape, size and defects of FeS2 nanocrystals changes during growth. It is demonstrated that a well-controlled reaction temperature and annealing time results in polycrystal-to-monocrystal formation and defect annihilation, which correlates with the performance of photoresponse devices. This knowledge opens up a new tactic to address pyrite's known defect problems.
A grant from the One-University Open Access Fund at the University of Kansas was used to defray the author’s publication fees in this Open Access journal. The Open Access Fund, administered by librarians from the KU, KU Law, and KUMC libraries, is made possible by contributions from the offices of KU Provost, KU Vice Chancellor for Research & Graduate Studies, and KUMC Vice Chancellor for Research. For more information about the Open Access Fund, please see http://library.kumc.edu/authors-fund.xml.
Gong, M., Kirkeminde, A., & Ren, S. (2013). Symmetry-Defying Iron Pyrite (FeS2) Nanocrystals through Oriented Attachment. Scientific reports, 3. http://dx/doi.org/10.1038/srep02092