Quantitative modeling of the role of surface traps in CdSe/CdS/ZnS nanocrystal photoluminescence decay dynamics

Marcus Jones, Shun S. Lo, Gregory D. Scholes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

320 Scopus citations


Charge carrier trapping is an important phenomenon in nanocrystal (NC) decay dynamics because it reduces photoluminescence (PL) quantum efficiencies and obscures efforts to understand the interaction of NC excitons with their surroundings. Particularly crucial to our understanding of excitation dynamics in, e.g., multiNC assemblies, would be a way of differentiating between processes involving trap states and those that do not. Direct optical measurement of NC trap state processes is not usually possible because they have negligible transition dipole moments; however, they are known to indirectly affect exciton photoluminescence. Here, we develop a framework, based on Marcus electron transfer theory, to determine NC trap state dynamics from time-resolved NC exciton PL measurements. Our results demonstrate the sensitivity of PL to interfacial dynamics, indicating that the technique can be used as an indirect but effective probe of trap distribution changes. We anticipate that this study represents a step toward understanding how excitons in nanocrystals interact with their surroundings: a quality that must be optimized for their efficient application in photovoltaics, photodetectors, or chemical sensors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3011-3016
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number9
StatePublished - Mar 3 2009
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


  • Electron transfer |
  • Fluorescence intermittency
  • Quantum dot
  • States
  • Time-correlated single-photon counting


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