The in situ synthesis of PbS nanocrystals from lead(II) n-octylxanthate within a 1,3-diisopropenylbenzene–bisphenol A dimethacrylate sulfur copolymer

P. D. McNaughter, J. C. Bear, A. G. Mayes, I. P. Parkin, P. O'Brien

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The synthesis of lead sulfide nanocrystals within a solution processable sulfur ‘inverse vulcanization’ polymer thin film matrix was achieved from the in situ thermal decomposition of lead(II) n-octylxanthate, [Pb(S2COOct)2]. The growth of nanocrystals within polymer thin films from single-source precursors offers a faster route to networks of nanocrystals within polymers when compared with ex situ routes. The ‘inverse vulcanization’ sulfur polymer described herein contains a hybrid linker system which demonstrates high solubility in organic solvents, allowing solution processing of the sulfur-based polymer, ideal for the formation of thin films. The process of nanocrystal synthesis within sulfur films was optimized by observing nanocrystal formation by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction. Examination of the film morphology by scanning electron microscopy showed that beyond a certain precursor concentration the nanocrystals formed were not only within the film but also on the surface suggesting a loading limit within the polymer. We envisage this material could be used as the basis of a new generation of materials where solution processed sulfur polymers act as an alternative to traditional polymers.
Original languageEnglish
Article number170383
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017


  • ead(II) xanthate
  • sulfur polymer
  • nanocrystals
  • inverse vulcanization

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