Date of Award


Document type


Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


First Advisor

Michael D. Barnes

Second Advisor

Paul M. Lahti

Third Advisor

Todd Emrick

Subject Categories



Single molecule studies on CdSe quantum dots functionalized with oligo-phenylene vinylene ligands (CdSe-OPV) provide evidence of strong electronic communication that facilitate charge and energy transport between the OPV ligands and the CdSe quantum dot core. This electronic interaction greatly modify, the photoluminescence properties of both bulk and single CdSe-OPV nanostructure thin film samples. Size-correlated wide-field fluorescence imaging show that blinking suppression in single CdSe-OPV is linked to the degree of OPV coverage (inferred from AFM height scans) on the quantum dot surface. The effect of the complex electronic environment presented by photoexcited OPV ligands on the excited state property of CdSe-OPV is measured with single photon counting and photon-pair correlation spectroscopy techniques. Time-tagged-time-resolved (TTTR) single photon counting measurements from individual CdSe-OPV nanostructures, show excited state lifetimes an order of magnitude shorter relative to conventional ZnS/CdSe quantum dots. Second-order intensity correlation measurements g(2)(τ) from individual CdSe-OPV nanostructures point to a weak multi-excitonic character with a strong wavelength dependent modulation depth. By tuning in and out of the absorption of the OPV ligands we observe changes in modulation depth from g(2)(0) ≈ 0.2 to 0.05 under 405 and 514 nm excitation respectively. Defocused images and polarization anisotropy measurements also reveal a well-defined linear dipole emission pattern in single CdSe-OPV nanostructures. These results provide new insights into to the mechanism behind the electronic interactions in composite quantum dot/conjugated organic composite systems at the single molecule level. The observed intensity flickering, blinking suppression and associated lifetime/count rate and antibunching behaviour is well explained by a Stark interaction model. Charge transfer from photo-excitation of the OPV ligands to the surface of the CdSe quantum dot core, mixes electron/holes states and lifts the degeneracy in the band edge bright exciton state, which induces a well define linear dipole behaviour in single CdSe-OPV nanostructures. The shift in the electron energies also affects Auger assisted hole trapping rates, suppress access to dark states and reduce the excited state lifetime.


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