Doped Semiconductor-Nanocrystal Emitters with Optimal Photoluminescence Decay Dynamics in Microsecond to Millisecond Range: Synthesis and Applications.
ABSTRACT: Transition metal doped semiconductor nanocrystals (d-dots) possess fundamentally different emission properties upon photo- or electroexcitation, which render them as unique emitters for special applications. However, in comparison with intrinsic semiconductor nanocrystals, the potential of d-dots has been barely realized, because many of their unique emission properties mostly rely on precise control of their photoluminescence (PL) decay dynamics. Results in this work revealed that it would be possible to obtain bright d-dots with nearly single-exponential PL decay dynamics. By tuning the number of Mn(2+) ions per dot from ?500 to 20 in Mn(2+) doped ZnSe nanocrystals (Mn:ZnSe d-dots), the single-exponential PL decay lifetime was continuously tuned from ?50 to 1000 ?s. A synthetic scheme was further developed for uniform and epitaxial growth of thick ZnS shell, ?7 monolayers. The resulting Mn:ZnSe/ZnS core/shell d-dots were found to be essential for necessary environmental durability of the PL properties, both steady-state and transient ones, for the d-dot emitters. These characteristics combined with intense absorption and high PL quantum yields (70 ± 5%) enabled greatly simplified schemes for various applications of PL lifetime multiplexing using Mn:ZnSe/ZnS core/shell d-dots.
Project description:Thick-shell (>5 nm) InP-ZnSe colloidal quantum dots (QDs) grown by a continuous-injection shell growth process are reported. The growth of a thick crystalline shell is attributed to the high temperature of the growth process and the relatively low lattice mismatch between the InP core and ZnSe shell. In addition to a narrow ensemble photoluminescence (PL) line-width (?40 nm), ensemble and single-particle emission dynamics measurements indicate that blinking and Auger recombination are reduced in these heterostructures. More specifically, high single-dot ON-times (>95%) were obtained for the core-shell QDs, and measured ensemble biexciton lifetimes, ?2x ? 540 ps, represent a 7-fold increase compared to InP-ZnS QDs. Further, high-resolution energy dispersive X-ray (EDX) chemical maps directly show for the first time significant incorporation of indium into the shell of the InP-ZnSe QDs. Examination of the atomic structure of the thick-shell QDs by high-angle annular dark-field scanning transmission electron microscopy (HAADF-STEM) reveals structural defects in subpopulations of particles that may mitigate PL efficiencies (?40% in ensemble), providing insight toward further synthetic refinement. These InP-ZnSe heterostructures represent progress toward fully cadmium-free QDs with superior photophysical properties important in biological labeling and other emission-based technologies.
Project description:We developed the effective Mn-doping procedure for AgInS₂(AIS)/ZnS core/shell nanocrystals (NCs) to exhibit dual photoluminescence (PL) peaks. Although the AIS/ZnS core/shell NCs showed solely a single PL peak at ~530 nm, incorporation of a small amount of Mn as a dopant within the AIS/ZnS NCs resulted in the simultaneous emergence of dual PL peaks at ~500 nm (green PL) arising from AIS/ZnS NCs and ~600 nm (orange PL) from the Mn dopants. Furthermore, we succeeded in significantly increasing the absolute PL quantum yield value of dual emissive AIS/ZnS NCs incorporated with Mn dopants from 10% to 34% after surface passivation with another ZnS shell for the formation of core/shell/shell structures.
Project description:Interparticle energy transfer offers great promise to a diverse range of applications ranging from artificial solar energy harvesting to nanoscale rulers in biology. Here, we assembled InP/ZnS core/shell quantum dot monolayers via the Langmuir-Blodgett technique and studied the effect of ZnS shell thickness on the excitonic energy transfer within these core/shell quantum dots. Three types of InP-based core/shell quantum dot Langmuir-Blodgett assemblies with different ZnS shell thicknesses were assembled. The structural and optical properties of colloidal quantum dots reveal the successful multiple ZnS shell growth, and atomic force microscopy studies show the smoothness of the assembled monolayers. Time-resolved photoluminescence (PL) and fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM) studies of the thick-shell QD monolayer reveal narrower lifetime distribution in comparison with the thin-shell QD monolayer. The interparticle excitonic energy transfer was studied by spectrally resolved PL traces, and higher energy transfer was observed for the thin-shell InP/1ZnS QD monolayer. Finally, we calculated the average exciton energy and indicated that the energy transfer induced exciton energy shift decreased significantly from 95 to 27 meV after multiple ZnS shell growth.
Project description:Strain can have a large influence on the properties of materials at the nanoscale. The effect of lattice strain on semiconductor devices has been widely studied, but its influence on colloidal semiconductor nanocrystals is still poorly understood. Here we show that the epitaxial deposition of a compressive shell (ZnS, ZnSe, ZnTe, CdS or CdSe) onto a soft nanocrystalline core (CdTe) to form a lattice-mismatched quantum dot can dramatically change the conduction and valence band energies of both the core and the shell. In particular, standard type-I quantum-dot behaviour is replaced by type-II behaviour, which is characterized by spatial separation of electrons and holes, extended excited-state lifetimes and giant spectral shifts. Moreover, the strain induced by the lattice mismatch can be used to tune the light emission--which displays narrow linewidths and high quantum yields--across the visible and near-infrared part of the spectrum (500-1,050 nm). Lattice-mismatched core-shell quantum dots are expected to have applications in solar energy conversion, multicolour biomedical imaging and super-resolution optical microscopy.
Project description:The large bulk bandgap (1.35 eV) and Bohr radius (~10 nm) of InP semiconductor nanocrystals provides bandgap tunability over a wide spectral range, providing superior color tuning compared to that of CdSe quantum dots. In this paper, the dependence of the bandgap, photoluminescence emission, and exciton radiative lifetime of core/shell quantum dot heterostructures has been investigated using colloidal InP core nanocrystals with multiple diameters (1.5, 2.5, and 3.7 nm). The shell thickness and composition dependence of the bandgap for type-I and type-II heterostructures was observed by coating the InP core with ZnS, ZnSe, CdS, or CdSe through one to ten iterations of a successive ion layer adsorption and reaction (SILAR)-based shell deposition. The empirical results are compared to bandgap energy predictions made with effective mass modeling. Photoluminescence emission colors have been successfully tuned throughout the visible and into the near infrared (NIR) wavelength ranges for type-I and type-II heterostructures, respectively. Based on sizing data from transmission electron microscopy (TEM), it is observed that at the same particle diameter, average radiative lifetimes can differ as much as 20-fold across different shell compositions due to the relative positions of valence and conduction bands. In this direct comparison of InP/ZnS, InP/ZnSe, InP/CdS, and InP/CdSe core/shell heterostructures, we clearly delineate the impact of core size, shell composition, and shell thickness on the resulting optical properties. Specifically, Zn-based shells yield type-I structures that are color tuned through core size, while the Cd-based shells yield type-II particles that emit in the NIR regardless of the starting core size if several layers of CdS(e) have been successfully deposited. Particles with thicker CdS(e) shells exhibit longer photoluminescence lifetimes, while little shell-thickness dependence is observed for the Zn-based shells. Taken together, these InP-based heterostructures demonstrate the extent to which we are able to precisely tailor the material properties of core/shell particles using core/shell dimensions and composition as variables.
Project description:The intentional introduction of transition metal impurities in semiconductor nanocrystals is an attractive approach for tuning quantum dot emission over a wide range of wavelengths. However, the development of effective doping strategies can be challenging, especially if one simultaneously requires a low-toxicity crystalline core, a functional protein shell, and a "green", single-step synthesis process. Here, we describe a simple and environmentally friendly route for the biofabrication of Cu-doped (blue-green) or Mn-doped (yellow-orange) ZnS nanocrystals surrounded by an antibody-binding protein shell. The ZnS:Mn hybrid particles obtained with this method exhibit a 60% enhancement in maximum photoluminescence intensity relative to undoped nanocrystals and have a hydrodynamic diameter inferior to 10 nm. They can be stored for months at 4 °C, are stable over a physiological range of pH and salt concentrations, can be decorated with variable amounts of antibodies by direct mixing, and hold promise for biosensing and imaging applications.
Project description:Engineering the compositional gradient for core/shell semiconductor nanocrystals improves their optical properties. To date, however, the structure of graded core/shell nanocrystal emitters has only been qualitatively described. In this paper, we demonstrate an approach to quantify nanocrystal structure, selecting graded Ag-In-Se/ZnSe core/shell nanocrystals as a proof-of-concept material. A combination of multi-energy small-angle X-ray scattering and electron microscopy techniques enables us to establish the radial distribution of ZnSe with sub-nanometer resolution. Using ab initio shape-retrieval analysis of X-ray scattering spectra, we further determine the average shape of nanocrystals. These results allow us to generate three-dimensional, atomistic reconstructions of graded core/shell nanocrystals. We use these reconstructions to calculate solid-state Zn diffusion in the Ag-In-Se nanocrystals and the lattice mismatch between nanocrystal monolayers. Finally, we apply these findings to propose design rules for optimal shell structure and record-luminescent core/shell nanocrystals.
Project description:Copper indium sulfide (CIS) quantum dots (QDs) are attractive as labels for biomedical imaging, since they have large absorption coefficients across a broad spectral range, size- and composition-tunable photoluminescence from the visible to the near-infrared, and low toxicity. However, the application of NIR-emitting CIS QDs is still hindered by large size and shape dispersions and low photoluminescence quantum yields (PLQYs). In this work, we develop an efficient pathway to synthesize highly luminescent NIR-emitting wurtzite CIS/ZnS QDs, starting from template Cu2-x S nanocrystals (NCs), which are converted by topotactic partial Cu+ for In3+ exchange into CIS NCs. These NCs are subsequently used as cores for the overgrowth of ZnS shells (?1 nm thick). The CIS/ZnS core/shell QDs exhibit PL tunability from the first to the second NIR window (750-1100 nm), with PLQYs ranging from 75% (at 820 nm) to 25% (at 1050 nm), and can be readily transferred to water upon exchange of the native ligands for mercaptoundecanoic acid. The resulting water-dispersible CIS/ZnS QDs possess good colloidal stability over at least 6 months and PLQYs ranging from 39% (at 820 nm) to 6% (at 1050 nm). These PLQYs are superior to those of commonly available water-soluble NIR-fluorophores (dyes and QDs), making the hydrophilic CIS/ZnS QDs developed in this work promising candidates for further application as NIR emitters in bioimaging. The hydrophobic CIS/ZnS QDs obtained immediately after the ZnS shelling are also attractive as fluorophores in luminescent solar concentrators.
Project description:Epitaxial growth of a protective semiconductor shell on a colloidal quantum dot (QD) core is the key strategy for achieving high fluorescence quantum efficiency and essential stability for optoelectronic applications and biotagging with emissive QDs. Herein we investigate the effect of shell growth rate on the structure and optical properties in blue-emitting ZnSe/ZnS QDs with narrow emission line width. Tuning the precursor reactivity modifies the growth mode of ZnS shells on ZnSe cores transforming from kinetic (fast) to thermodynamic (slow) growth regimes. In the thermodynamic growth regime, enhanced fluorescence quantum yields and reduced on-off blinking are achieved. This high performance is ascribed to the effective avoidance of traps at the interface between the core and the shell, which are detrimental to the emission properties. Our study points to a general strategy to obtain high-quality core/shell QDs with enhanced optical properties through controlled reactivity yielding shell growth in the thermodynamic limit.
Project description:Traditionally, ZnS or ZnSe is chosen as the shell material for InP quantum dots (QDs). However, for green or blue InP QDs, the ZnSe shell will form a type-II structure resulting in a redshift of the emission spectrum. Although the band gap of ZnS is wider, its lattice mismatch with InP is larger (?7.7%), resulting in more defect states and lowered quantum yield (QY). To overcome the above problems, we introduced the intermediate ZnMnS layer in InP/ZnMnS/ZnS QDs. The wide band gap of the intermediate layer (3.7 eV) can confine the electrons and holes in the core completely, and the formation of the type-II structure is avoided. As a result, green InP-based QDs with QY up to 80% were obtained. By adjusting the halogen ratios of the ZnX2 precursor, the minimum and maximum emission peaks are 470 and 620 nm, respectively, covering the whole visible range. Finally, after optimizing the coating shell process, the maximum external quantum efficiency of QD light-emitting diodes fabricated from this InP-based green light QDs can reach 2.7%.