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Trioctylphosphine Selenide (TOPSe 15-6657) and Tributylphosphine Sulfide (TBPS 15-6658) for Quantum Dot Preparation

TOPSe and TBPS with different alkyl chains are promising materials for making QDs with tunable luminescence

We continue to introduce essential reagents for quantum dot (QD) synthesis and offer different chain alkyl reagents. Trioctylphosphine selenide (TOPSe 15-6657) and tributylphosphine sulfide (TBPS 15-6658) provide excellent colloidal media for high temperature experimentation.

The first successful utilization of TOPSe for selenide QDs synthesis began in the early 90’s and is associated with MIT Prof. Bawendi [1-5]. The most popular synthetic route of selenide quantum dots is the method using organometallic metal precursors, like dimethylcadmium Me2Cd (48-5040; 48-5041), diethylzinc Et2Zn (30-3029), or lead acetate (82-0595; 93-8250; 93-8270) that reacts with selenium reagents, like Se powder (34-0090) or diphenylphosphine selenide (15-1772) in the presence TOP or TOPO,  a surfactant, at high temperatures (generally around 300°C). These subjects were already reviewed in our previous blog on tri-n-octylphosphine (15-6655) and tri-n-octylphosphine oxide (15-6660, 15-6661).


Fig. 1. Tioctylphosphine selenide (15-6657; 15% Se) and 
tributylphosphine sulfide (15-6658; (7% S)

In general, TOPSe is prepared via interaction of elemental Se with an excess amount of TOP under inert atmosphere. Strem offers tioctylphosphine selenide (TOPSe 15-6657; 15-6659, Cytop 504) as 15% Se solution in TOP that is ready for direct injection in the hot reaction solution. This helps researchers to save time and material on optimization of reaction conditions. Careful use of TOPSe under different reaction conditions results in selenide QDs that are very homogeneous, having narrow size distribution with tunable particle sizes from 2 to 8 nm.

Application of TBPS as a sulfur precursor for QD synthesis is relatively new, less explored and there are fewer reports [6-9]. It has a shorter alkyl chain than TOP and therefore a good alternative to fine-tune the optical properties of sulfide QDs. Vela et al did comprehensive research on phosphine-chalcogenide precursors and observed reactivity increases in the order: TPPE < DPPE < TBPE < TOPE < HPTE (E = S, Se) [7]. They also have demonstrated “bottom-up” control of nanoscale composition, architecture, and morphology in CdS–CdSe nanocrystal quantum dots and rods, by purposely altering and modulating the chemical reactivity of the molecular phosphine-chalcogenide precursors, R3PE.

For more available candidates of other long chain alkylphosphonic acids, used as common reagents in the chemical synthesis of nanoparticles (including QDs), please see these following products; 96-1525 (Kit); 15-0958; 15-1835; 15-2400; 15-2410; 15-3510; 15-3520; 15-5145.



  1. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 1993, 115, 8706
  2. Chem. Mater. 1996, 8, 173
  3.  J. Phys. Chem. B 1997, 101, 9463
  4. Adv. Mat. 2003, 15, 1862
  5. Nano Lett., 2009, 9, 2532
  6. Colloid. Surf. A, Physicochem. Eng. Aspects 2006, 289, 118
  7. ACS Nano, 2012, 6, 5348
  8. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2012, 134, 13266
  9. Adv. Mater. 2018, 30, 1703279


Products Mentioned:

15-6657 Trioctylphosphine selenide min. 99%, (15% Se, dissolved in TOP) (20612-73-1)

15-6658 Tributylphosphine sulfide min. 99%, (7% S, dissolved in TBP) (3084-50-2)

15-6659 Trioctylphosphine selenide min. 80% (20612-73-1)

48-5040 Dimethylcadmium, min. 97% (506-82-1)

48-5041 Dimethylcadmium, min. 97% (10 wt% in hexanes) (506-82-1)

30-3029 Diethylzinc, min. 95% (10 wt% in hexanes) (Sure/Seal™ Bottle) (557-20-0)

82-0595 Lead(II) acetate trihydrate (99.999%-Pb) PURATREM (6080-56-4)

93-8250 Lead(II) acetate trihydrate, 99+% (ACS) (6080-56-4)

93-8270 Lead(IV) acetate, 95% (546-67-8)

34-0090 Selenium powder (99.99%) (7782-49-2)

15-1772 Diphenylphosphine selenide, 98% (5853-64-5)

15-6655 Tri-n-octylphosphine, min. 97% TOP (4731-53-7)

15-6660 Trioctylphosphine oxide, min. 90% TOPO (78-50-2)

15-6661 Trioctylphosphine oxide, 99% TOPO (78-50-2)

96-1525 Long-Chain n-Alkylphosphonic Acid Kit


Related Product Lines:

Ligands & Chiral Ligands


Nanomaterials Booklet

Quantum Dots




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