Increasing the sustainability of nanocrystals is crucial to their application and the protection of the environment. Sulfur precursors for their synthesis are commonly obtained through multiple steps from H2S, only to be converted back to H2S during the synthesis of the nanocrystals. This convoluted process requires energy, reduces yields, increases waste and auxiliaries, and complicates recycling. Using H2S directly could drastically improve sustainability, but is prevented by toxicity and handling. We here show that H2S is stabilized by reaction with oleylamine (the most common and versatile ligand in nanoparticle synthesis) to form an ionic liquid precursor that addresses all major principles of green chemistry: it is made in one exothermic step, it leaves the reaction yielding a safer product and allowing the separate recycling of the precursors, and it produces high quality nanocrystals with high yields (sulfur yield > 70%) and concentrations (90 g L−1) in ambient conditions.
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