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ACS Nano. 2017 Jun 27;11(6):6328-6335. doi: 10.1021/acsnano.7b02649. Epub 2017 May 30.

Imaging and Manipulating Energy Transfer Among Quantum Dots at Individual Dot Resolution.

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Department of Physics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign , Urbana, Illinois 61801, United States.


Many processes of interest in quantum dots involve charge or energy transfer from one dot to another. Energy transfer in films of quantum dots as well as between linked quantum dots has been demonstrated by luminescence shift, and the ultrafast time-dependence of energy transfer processes has been resolved. Bandgap variation among dots (energy disorder) and dot separation are known to play an important role in how energy diffuses. Thus, it would be very useful if energy transfer could be visualized directly on a dot-by-dot basis among small clusters or within films of quantum dots. To that effect, we report single molecule optical absorption detected by scanning tunneling microscopy (SMA-STM) to image energy pooling from donor into acceptor dots on a dot-by-dot basis. We show that we can manipulate groups of quantum dots by pruning away the dominant acceptor dot, and switching the energy transfer path to a different acceptor dot. Our experimental data agrees well with a simple Monte Carlo lattice model of energy transfer, similar to models in the literature, in which excitation energy is transferred preferentially from dots with a larger bandgap to dots with a smaller bandgap.


Förster resonant energy transfer; Monte Carlo simulation; laser; nanoparticle; scanning tunneling microscopy


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