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Surface Charge Control of Quantum Dot Blinking

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  • Steven D. Quinn
  • Aidan Rafferty
  • Emma Dick
  • Michael J Morten
  • Fraser J. Kettles
  • Chloe Knox
  • Mark Murrie
  • Steven W. Magennis


Publication details

JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry C
DatePublished - 1 Sep 2016
Issue number34
Number of pages5
Pages (from-to)19487-19491
Original languageEnglish


A characteristic property of colloidal semiconductor nanocrystal quantum dots (QDs) is their emission intermittency. Although a unifying theory of QD photoprocesses remains elusive, the importance of charged states is clear. We now report a new approach to directly study the role of surface charge on QD emission by adding metal ions to individual, core-only QDs immobilized in aqueous solution in an agarose gel. The CdTe QDs show very stable emission in the absence of metal ions but a dramatic and reversible increase in blinking due to the presence of trivalent metal ions. Our results support a charge-separation model, in which the major blinking pathway is the surface trapping of electrons; transiently bound metal ions close to the QD surface enhance this process.

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© 2016 American Chemical Society

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