pH Tunable Patterning of Quantum Dots

Ilker Torun, Conan Huang, Mustafa Kalay, Moonsub Shim, M. Serdar Onses

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Patterning of quantum dots (QDs) is essential for many, especially high-tech, applications. Here, pH tunable assembly of QDs over functional patterns prepared by electrohydrodynamic jet printing of poly(2-vinylpyridine) is presented. The selective adsorption of QDs from water dispersions is mediated by the electrostatic interaction between the ligand composed of 3-mercaptopropionic acid and patterned poly(2-vinylpyridine). The pH of the dispersion provides tunability at two levels. First, the adsorption density of QDs and fluorescence from the patterns can be modulated for pH > ≈4. Second, patterned features show unique type of disintegration resulting in randomly positioned features within areas defined by the printing for pH ≤ ≈4. The first capability is useful for deterministic patterning of QDs, whereas the second one enables hierarchically structured encoding of information by generating stochastic features of QDs within areas defined by the printing. This second capability is exploited for generating addressable security labels based on unclonable features. Through image analysis and feature matching algorithms, it is demonstrated that such patterns are unclonable in nature and provide a suitable platform for anti-counterfeiting applications. Collectively, the presented approach not only enables effective patterning of QDs, but also establishes key guidelines for addressable assembly of colloidal nanomaterials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2305237
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 11 2024


  • colloidal quantum dots
  • encoded surfaces
  • pH
  • polymers
  • printing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Biotechnology
  • General Materials Science
  • Biomaterials


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