We report aqueous phase synthesized semiconductor nanoparticles with well-defined numbers of constituent atoms. Aqueous phase synthesis provides many advantages over organic phase synthesis for producing such high-quality semiconductor nanoparticles. We synthesized CdSe nanoparticles with excellent colloidal and optical stabilities directly in aqueous solution at room temperature and then identified them as selectively grown (CdSe)33 and (CdSe)34 magic-sized clusters. These clusters displayed extremely sharp excitonic absorption and emission peaks because of their practically monodispersed size distribution. Their X-ray diffraction pattern and Raman spectral features were considerably different from the corresponding pattern and features for typical crystalline CdSe nanoparticles. Growth of our magic-sized clusters was very slow and proceeded via the formation of different sizes of progressively larger CdSe nanoparticle intermediates with time. Our results demonstrated that aqueous phase synthetic routes could be successfully adopted for producing high-quality semiconductor nanoparticles.
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