Anomalously Large Polarization Effect Responsible for Excitonic Red Shifts in PbSe Quantum Dot Solids


Wolcott, A.; Doyeux, V.; Nelson, C.A.; Gearba, R.; Lei, K.W.; Yager, K.G.; Dolocan, A.D.; Williams, K.; Nguyen, D.; Zhu, X.-Y. "Anomalously Large Polarization Effect Responsible for Excitonic Red Shifts in PbSe Quantum Dot Solids" Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters 2011, 2 795–800.
doi: 10.1021/jz200080d


We quantify shifts in optical properties that arise from the organization and re-organization of quantum dots in 2D and 3D structures.


The formation of solid thin films from colloidal semiconductor quantum dots (QDs) is often accompanied by red shifts in excitonic transitions, but the mechanisms responsible for the red shifts are under debate. We quantitatively address this issue using optical absorption spectroscopy of two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) arrays of PbSe QDs with controlled inter-QD distance, which was determined by the length of alkanedithiol linking molecules. With decreasing inter-QD distance, the first and second exciton absorption peaks show increasing red shifts. Using thin films consisting of large and isolated QDs embedded in a matrix of small QDs, we determine that a dominant contribution to the observed red shift is due to changes in polarization of the dielectric environment surrounding each QD (88%), while electronic or transition dipole coupling plays a lesser role. However, the observed red shifts are more than 1 order of magnitude larger than theoretical predictions based on the dielectric polarization effect for spherical QDs. We attribute this anomalously large polarization effect to deviations of the exciton wave functions from eigenfunctions of the idealized spherical quantum well model.