A stable droplet reactor for high temperature nanocrystal synthesis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • AM Nightingale
  • SH Krishnadadan
  • D Berhanu
  • X Niu
  • C Drury
  • R McIntyre
  • JC deMello

Colleges, School and Institutes


We report a versatile capillary-based droplet reactor for the controlled synthesis of nanoparticles over a wide range of flow conditions and temperatures. The reactor tolerates large flow-rate differentials between individual reagent streams, and allows droplet composition to be varied independently of residence time and volume. The reactor was successfully applied to the synthesis of metal (Ag), metal-oxide (TiO(2)) and compound semiconductor (CdSe) nanoparticles, and in each case exhibited stable droplet flow over many hours of operation without fouling, even for reactions involving solid intermediates. For CdSe formed by the reaction of Cd oleate and Se, highly controlled growth could be achieved at temperatures of up to 250 °C, with emission spectra varying smoothly and reproducibly with temperature and flow-rate. The droplet reactor showed exceptional stability when operated under constant flow-rate and temperature conditions, yielding particles with well-defined band-edge emission spectra that did not vary over the course of a full day's continuous operation.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1221-1227
Number of pages7
JournalLab on a Chip
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011