Theoretical characterization on the size-dependent electron and hole trapping activity of chloride-passivated CdSe nanoclusters
The Journal of chemical physics | 9 Apr 2018
Y Cui, X Cui, L Zhang, Y Xie and M Yang
Ligand passivation is often used to suppress the surface trap states of semiconductor quantum dots (QDs) for their continuous photoluminescence output. The suppression process is related to the electrophilic/nucleophilic activity of surface atoms that varies with the structure and size of QD and the electron donating/accepting nature of ligand. Based on first-principles-based descriptors and cluster models, the electrophilic/nucleophilic activities of bare and chloride-coated CdSe clusters were studied to reveal the suppression mechanism of Cl-passivated QDs and compared to experimental observations. The surface atoms of bare clusters have higher activity than inner atoms and their activity decreases with cluster size. In the ligand-coated clusters, the Cd atom remains as the electrophilic site, while the nucleophilic site of Se atoms is replaced by Cl atoms. The activities of Cd and Cl atoms in the coated clusters are, however, remarkably weaker than those in bare clusters. Cluster size, dangling atoms, ligand coverage, electronegativity of ligand atoms, and solvent (water) were found to have considerable influence on the activity of surface atoms. The suppression of surface trap states in Cl-passivated QDs was attributed to the reduction of electrophilic/nucleophilic activity of Cd/Se/Cl atoms. Both saturation to under-coordinated surface atoms and proper selection for the electron donating/accepting strength of ligands are crucial for eliminating the charge carrier traps. Our calculations predicted a similar suppressing effect of chloride ligands with experiments and provided a simple but effective approach to assess the charge carrier trapping behaviors of semiconductor QDs.
* Data courtesy of Altmetric.com