Superposition Principle in Auger Recombination of Charged and Neutral Multicarrier States in Semiconductor Quantum Dots

Kaifeng Wu, Jaehoon Lim, Victor I. Klimov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Application of colloidal semiconductor quantum dots (QDs) in optical and optoelectronic devices is often complicated by unintentional generation of extra charges, which opens fast nonradiative Auger recombination pathways whereby the recombination energy of an exciton is quickly transferred to the extra carrier(s) and ultimately dissipated as heat. Previous studies of Auger recombination have primarily focused on neutral and, more recently, negatively charged multicarrier states. Auger dynamics of positively charged species remains more poorly explored due to difficulties in creating, stabilizing, and detecting excess holes in the QDs. Here we apply photochemical doping to prepare both negatively and positively charged CdSe/CdS QDs with two distinct core/shell interfacial profiles ("sharp" versus "smooth"). Using neutral and charged QD samples we evaluate Auger lifetimes of biexcitons, negative and positive trions (an exciton with an extra electron or a hole, respectively), and multiply negatively charged excitons. Using these measurements, we demonstrate that Auger decay of both neutral and charged multicarrier states can be presented as a superposition of independent elementary three-particle Auger events. As one of the manifestations of the superposition principle, we observe that the biexciton Auger decay rate can be presented as a sum of the Auger rates for independent negative and positive trion pathways. By comparing the measurements on the QDs with the "sharp" versus "smooth" interfaces, we also find that while affecting the absolute values of Auger lifetimes, manipulation of the shape of the confinement potential does not lead to violation of the superposition principle, which still allows us to accurately predict the biexciton Auger lifetimes based on the measured negative and positive trion dynamics. These findings indicate considerable robustness of the superposition principle as applied to Auger decay of charged and neutral multicarrier states, suggesting its generality to quantum-confined nanocrystals of arbitrary compositions and complexities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8437-8447
Number of pages11
JournalACS nano
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 22 2017


  • Auger recombination
  • colloidal quantum dots
  • multiexcitons
  • positive and negative trions
  • positively and negatively charged quantum dots

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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