Bias-induced photoluminescence quenching of single colloidal quantum dots embedded in organic semiconductors

Hao Huang, August Dorn, Gautham P Nair, Vladimir Bulović, Moungi G Bawendi
Nano Letters 2007, 7 (12): 3781-6
We demonstrate reversible quenching of the photoluminescence from single CdSe/ZnS colloidal quantum dots embedded in thin films of the molecular organic semiconductor N,N'-diphenyl-N,N'-bis(3-methylphenyl)-(1,1'-biphenyl)-4,4'-diamine (TPD) in a layered device structure. Our analysis, based on current and charge carrier density, points toward field ionization as the dominant photoluminescence quenching mechanism. Blinking traces from individual quantum dots reveal that the photoluminescence amplitude decreases continuously as a function of increasing forward bias even at the single quantum dot level. In addition, we show that quantum dot photoluminescence is quenched by aluminum tris(8-hydroxyquinoline) (Alq3) in chloroform solutions as well as in thin solid films of Alq3 whereas TPD has little effect. This highlights the importance of chemical compatibility between semiconductor nanocrystals and surrounding organic semiconductors. Our study helps elucidate elementary interactions between quantum dots and organic semiconductors, knowledge needed for designing efficient quantum dot organic optoelectronic devices.

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