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Chem Sci. 2010 Aug 31;1(4):519-526.

Correlated Single Quantum Dot Blinking and Interfacial Electron Transfer Dynamics.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, 30322.


The electron transfer (ET) dynamics from core/multi-shell (CdSe/CdS(3ML)ZnCdS(2ML)ZnS(2ML)) quantum dots (QDs) to adsorbed Fluorescein (F27) molecules have been studied by single particle spectroscopy to probe the relationship between single QD interfacial electron transfer and blinking dynamics. Electron transfer from the QD to F27 and the subsequent recombination were directly observed by ensemble-averaged transient absorption spectroscopy. Single QD-F27 complexes show correlated fluctuation of fluorescence intensity and lifetime, similar to those observed in free QDs. With increasing ET rate (controlled by F27-to-QD ratio), the lifetime of on states decreases and relative contribution of off states increases. It was shown that ET is active for QDs in on states, the excited state lifetime of which reflects the ET rate, whereas in the off state QD excitons decay by Auger relaxation and ET is not a competitive quenching pathway. Thus, the blinking dynamics of single QDs modulate their interfacial ET activity. Furthermore, interfacial ET provides an additional pathway for generating off states, leading to correlated single QD interfacial ET and blinking dynamics in QD-acceptor complexes. Because blinking is a general phenomenon of single QDs, it appears that the correlated interfacial ET and blinking and the resulting intermittent ET activity are general phenomena for single QDs.

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