El-Shall, M. Samy Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia.
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A synthetic particle that ranges in diameter from 1 to 100 nanometers. Semiconductor nanoparticles around 1–20 nm in diameter are often called quantum dots, nanocrystals, or Q-particles. These particles possess short-range structures that are essentially the same as the bulk semiconductors, yet have optical or electronic properties that are dramatically different from the bulk properties. The confinement of electrons within a semiconductor nanocrystal results in a shift of the band gap to higher energy with smaller crystalline size. This effect is known as the quantum size effect. In the strong confinement regime, the actual size of the semiconductor particle determines the allowed energy levels and thus the optical and electronic properties of the material. See also: Functional inorganic nanomaterials; Nanotechnology
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