This Perspective describes the mechanisms by which organic surfactants, in particular, phenyldithiocarbamates (PTCs), couple electronically to the delocalized states of semiconductor quantum dots (QDs). This coupling reduces the confinement energies of excitonic carriers and, in the case of PTC, the optical band gap of metal chalcogenide QDs by up to 1 eV by selectively delocalizing the excitonic hole. The reduction of confinement energy for the hole is enabled by the creation of interfacial electronic states near the valence band edge of the QD. The PTC case illuminates the general minimal requirements for surfactants to achieve observable bathochromic or hypsochromic shifts of the optical band gap of QDs; these include frontier orbitals with energies near the relevant semiconductor band edge, the correct symmetry to mix with the orbitals of the relevant band, and an adsorption geometry that permits spatial overlap between the orbitals of the ligand and those of the relevant band (Se 4p orbitals for CdSe, for example). The shift is enhanced by energetic resonance of frontier orbitals of the surfactant with a high density of states region of the band, which, for CdSe, is ∼1 eV below the band edge. The Perspective discusses other examples of strong-coupling surfactants and compares the orbital mixing mechanism with other mechanisms of surfactant-induced shifts in the QD band gap.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry