10-Fold Quantum Yield Improvement of Ag2S Nanoparticles by Fine Compositional Tuning

Alicia Ortega-Rodríguez, Yingli Shen, Irene Zabala Gutierrez, Harrison D. A. Santos, Vivian Torres Vera, Erving Ximendes, Gonzalo Villaverde, José Lifante, Christoph Gerke, Nuria Fernández, Oscar G. Calderón, Sonia Melle, José Marques-Hueso, Diego Mendez-Gonzalez, Marco Laurenti, Callum M. S. Jones, Juan Manuel López-Romero, Rafael Contreras-Cáceres, Daniel Jaque, Jorge Rubio-Retama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Ag2S semiconductor nanoparticles (NPs) are near-infrared luminescent probes with outstanding properties (good biocompatibility, optimum spectral operation range, and easy biofunctionalization) that make them ideal probes for in vivo imaging. Ag2S NPs have, indeed, made possible amazing challenges including in vivo brain imaging and advanced diagnosis of the cardiovascular system. Despite the continuous redesign of synthesis routes, the emission quantum yield (QY) of Ag2S NPs is typically below 0.2%. This leads to a low luminescent brightness that avoids their translation into the clinics. In this work, an innovative synthetic methodology that permits a 10-fold increment in the absolute QY from 0.2 up to 2.3% is presented. Such an increment in the QY is accompanied by an enlargement of photoluminescence lifetimes from 184 to 1200 ns. The optimized synthetic route presented here is based on a fine control over both the Ag core and the Ag/S ratio within the NPs. Such control reduces the density of structural defects and decreases the nonradiative pathways. In addition, we demonstrate that the superior performance of the Ag2S NPs allows for high-contrast in vivo bioimaging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12500-12509
Number of pages10
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number11
Early online date18 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - 18 Mar 2020


  • Ag S/Ag nanoparticles
  • NIR-II imaging
  • PL lifetime
  • PLQY
  • fluorescent probes
  • synthesis optimization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science


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