Maksym V MV Kovalenko, Liberato L Manna, Andreu A Cabot, Zeger Z Hens, Dmitri V DV Talapin, Cherie R CR Kagan, Victor I VI Klimov, Andrey L AL Rogach, Peter P Reiss, Delia J DJ Milliron, Philippe P Guyot-Sionnnest, Gerasimos G Konstantatos, Wolfgang J WJ Parak, Taeghwan T Hyeon, Brian A BA Korgel, Christopher B CB Murray, Wolfgang W Heiss
Colloidal nanocrystals (NCs, i.e., crystalline nanoparticles) have become an important class of materials with great potential for applications ranging from medicine to electronic and optoelectronic devices. Today's strong research focus on NCs has been prompted by the tremendous progress in their synthesis. Impressively narrow size distributions of just a few percent, rational shape-engineering, compositional modulation, electronic doping, and tailored surface chemistries are now feasible for a broad range of inorganic compounds. The performance of inorganic NC-based photovoltaic and light-emitting devices has become competitive to other state-of-the-art materials. Semiconductor NCs hold unique promise for near- and mid-infrared technologies, where very few semiconductor materials are available. On a purely fundamental side, new insights into NC growth, chemical transformations, and self-organization can be gained from rapidly progressing in situ characterization and direct imaging techniques. New phenomena are constantly being discovered in the photophysics of NCs and in the electronic properties of NC solids. In this Nano Focus, we review the state of the art in research on colloidal NCs focusing on the most recent works published in the last 2 years.