Visible-light-responsive photonic structures have been prepared in alcohol solvents by using silica-modified PbS colloidal nanocrystal clusters (CNCs) as building blocks. Further modification of the PbS CNCs with a coating of silica allowed the dispersion of the particles into nonaqueous solutions. Repulsive electrostatic and solvation forces contribute to the self-assembly of the PbS@SiO2 spheres. The core–shell particles have optical properties similar to those of CNCs, and they can also be assembled into close-packing films through simple drop-casting on silicon substrates. Embedding droplets of such a PbS@SiO2 colloidal solution in a polymer matrix produced solid composite materials with visible-light-responsive optical properties with potential applications as sensors and optical switches.
A facile approach for transferring PbS colloidal photonic structures into alkanol solutions and composite solid films