Electron and hole relaxation pathways in semiconductor quantum dots

Victor I Klimov, D. W. McBranch, C. A. Leatherdale, M. G. Bawendi

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538 Citations (Scopus)


Femtosecond (fs) broad-band transient absorption (TA) is used to study the intraband relaxation and depopulation dynamics of electron and hole quantized states in CdSe nanocrystals (NC's) with a range of surface properties. Instead of the drastic reduction in the energy relaxation rate expected due to a "phonon bottleneck," we observe a fast subpicosecond 1P-to-1S electron relaxation, with the rate exceeding that due to phonon emission in bulk semiconductors. The energy relaxation is enhanced with reducing the NC's radius, and does not show any dependence on the NC surface properties (quality of the surface passivation). These data indicate that electron energy relaxation occurs by neither multiphonon emission nor by coupling to surface defects, but is likely meditated by Auger-type electron-hole energy transfer. We use fs infrared TA to probe electron and hole intraband transitions, which allows us to distinguish between electron and hole relaxation pathways leading to the depopulation of NC quantized states. In contrast to the electron relaxation, which is controlled by NC surface passivation, the depopulation of hole quantized states is extremely fast (sub-ps-to-ps time scales) in all types of samples, independent of NC surface treatment (including NC's overcoated with a ZnS layer). Our results indicate that ultrafast hole dynamics are not due to trapping at localized surface defects such as a vacancy, but rather arise from relaxation into intrinsic NC states or intrinsically unpassivated interface states.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13740-13749
Number of pages10
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics

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