Ion exchange reactions of colloidal nanocrystals provide access to complex products that are synthetically challenging using traditional hot-injection methods. However, such reactions typically achieve only partial material transformations by employing either cation or anion exchange processes. It is now shown that anion and cation exchange reactions can be coupled together and applied sequentially in one integrated pathway that leads to complete material transformations of nanocrystal templates. Although the product nanocrystals do not contain any of the original constituent elements, the original morphology is retained, thereby fully decoupling morphology and composition control. The sequential anion/cation exchange process was applied to pseudo-spherical CdO nanocrystals and ZnO tetrapods, producing fully transformed and shape-controlled nanocrystals of copper and silver sulfides and selenides. Furthermore, hollow core-shell tetrapod ZnS@CdS heterostructures were readily accessible.
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