Fundamental studies of interfacial excited-state charge transfer in molecularly tethered semiconductor nanoassemblies
Youker, Diane Greer
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The research presented in this dissertation focuses on elucidating the parameters affecting dynamics and yield of electron transfer reactions in semiconducting nanoparticle assemblies through the use of time-resolved spectroscopy. In particular, the dissertation focuses on photoinduced electron injection in assemblies of CdSe, CdS, or PbS quantum dots covalently bound to either metal oxide films or each other through the use of bifunctional molecular linkers. Chapter 2 elucidates the influence of electronic coupling on excited-state electron transfer from CdS quantum dots to TiO 2 nanoparticles via molecular linkers with phenylene bridges. We establish that the efficiency of electron injection from CdS quantum dots to TiO 2 nanoparticle varies dramatically with electronic coupling, which can be controlled by tuning the properties of molecular linkers. Chapter 3 presents the role of excitation energy on interfacial electron transfer in tethered assemblies of CdSe quantum dots and TiO 2 nanoparticles. Through this work, we determined that injection efficiency from band-edge states is independent of excitation energy. However, the efficiency of injection from trap-states decreases at lower-energy excitation. We attribute the decrease to a lower energy distribution of emissive trap-states from which injection is less efficient. Chapter 4 presents the observation of multiphasic electron injection dynamics from photoexcited PbS quantum dots to TiO 2 nanoparticles. In this collaborative study with Dr. Masumoto from the University of Tsukuba we observed electron injection on multiple timescales. We determined that electron injection occurred in this system through two different mechanisms. The first involved injection from thermalized PbS excited states and the second through injection of hot electrons through Auger recombination of biexcitons that creates high lying excitonic states. Chapter 5 investigates charge transfer in covalently bound quantum dot assemblies. We utilize established carbodiimide chemistry to tether quantum dots to each other through covalent bonds between capping groups. As a result of our controlled-covalent quantum dot attachment, we observe evidence of interfacial charge transfer from photoexcited CdS quantum dots to covalently-bound CdSe quantum dots.