Semiconductor–metal heterojunction nanostructures possess an ability to store electrons upon photoexcitation through Fermi level equilibration. The unique role of capping ligands in modulating the equilibration of Fermi level in CdSe–Au heteronanostructures is explored by taking alkyl thiols and alkyl amines as examples. Alkyl thiol having its highest occupied molecular orbital (HOMO) above the valence band of the heterojunction nanostructure inhibits the exciton recombination by scavenging the photogenerated hole. This leads to the elevation in the Fermi level of Au and equilibration with the conduction band of CdSe. The Fermi level equilibrated electrons are further transferred to an acceptor molecule such as methyl viologen, demonstrating the potential of heterojunction nanostructures capped with hole accepting ligands for charge transport application in photovoltaics. In contrast, alkyl amine being a non-hole acceptor ligand with its HOMO placed below its valence band promotes rapid Au mediated exciton recombination, limiting its usefulness in charge transport application. Thus, the energetics of ligands on heterojunction nanostructures plays a decisive role in Fermi level equilibration.
Gold nanoparticle on semiconductor quantum dot: Do surface ligands influence Fermi level equilibration
Note: This paper is part of the JCP Special Topic on Emerging Directions in Plasmonics.
K. Sandeep, B. Manoj, K. George Thomas; Gold nanoparticle on semiconductor quantum dot: Do surface ligands influence Fermi level equilibration. J. Chem. Phys. 31 January 2020; 152 (4): 044710. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.5138216
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