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Opt Express. 2012 Jan 30;20(3):3200-8. doi: 10.1364/OE.20.003200.

Local refractive index probed via the fluorescence decay of semiconductor quantum dots.

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Université Lyon 1, CNRS, UMR5620, Laboratoire de Physico-Chimie des Matériaux Luminescents, F-69622 Villeurbanne Cedex, France.


We present a novel approach for convenient tuning of the local refractive index around nanostructures. We apply this technique to study the influence of the local refractive index on the radiative decay time of CdSe/ZnS quantum dots with three distinct emission wavelengths. The dependence of the luminescence decay time on the environment is well described by an effective medium approach. A critical distance of about 80 nm is found for the determination of the effective local index of refraction. An estimation for the emitting-state quantum efficiency can be extracted.

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