The effects of chemisorption on the luminescence of CdSe quantum dots

Craig Bullen, P. Mulvaney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

425 Citations (Scopus)


We report on the effects of Lewis bases and other ligands on radiative recombination in CdSe quantum dots (QDs) in several solvents. Long-chain primary amines are found to be the most efficacious capping agents for CdSe QDs in nonpolar solvents. Primary alkylamines are superior to secondary and tertiary alkylamines. The kinetics of chemisorption and desorption in less polar solvents, such as hexane or chloroform, are temperature controlled and obey a Langmuir isotherm. Mercaptan adsorption also obeys a Langmuir isotherm, and alkylmercaptans rapidly displace amines, leading to luminescence quenching. In more polar solvents, such as toluene, ligands desorb, leading to luminescence quenching. It is proposed that surface Cd vacancies function as nonradiative recombination centers. The adsorption of a Lewis base to the QD raises the surface vacancy energy close to, or above, the conduction band edge and eliminates electron capture by the surface vacancies. Solvent polarity has a strong effect on luminescence since the solvent determines the extent of ligand adsorption to the QD surface.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3007-3013
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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