Quantum dots -- Optical properties, Two photon absorbing materials


The aim of this dissertation is to gain a better understanding of the unique electronic structure of lead salt quantum dots (QDs) and its influences on the nonlinear optical (NLO) properties as well as the time dynamics of the photogenerated charge carriers. A variety of optical techniques such as Z-scan, two-photon excited fluorescence and time-resolved pump probe spectroscopy are used to measure these properties. The one-photon as well as the degenerate and nondegenerate two-photon absorption (2PA) spectra are measured and the electronic wave functions from a four-band envelope function formalism are used to model the results. We observe local maxima in the 2PA spectra for QD samples of many different sizes at energies where only 1PA is predicted by the model. This is similar to the previously measured transitions in the 1PA spectra which are not predicted by the model but accrue at the energies of the two-photon allowed transitions. Most importantly we observe 2PA peaks for all samples at the energy of the first one-photon allowed transition. This result can only be understood in terms of symmetry breaking and therefore is strong evidence that other transitions, not predicted by the model if the selection rules are left intact, also have the origin in the lifted spatial symmetry of the wave functions. On the other hand, the uniquely symmetric eigenenergies of these quantum-confined energy states in the conduction and valance bands explain the observed trend toward larger two-photon cross-sections as the quantum confinement is increased in smaller QDs. Moreover, this unique feature is shown to reduce the possible relaxation channels for photoexcited carriers, which is confirmed experimentally by the reduced carrier relaxation rate as compared to CdSe QDs which lack this symmetry. Carrier multiplication (CM), a process in which several electrons are excited by the iv absorption of a single photon is studied in PbS QDs. We show that for PbS QDs with radius smaller than 2.5 nm the parameters of CM get very close to the theoretical optimum. Nextgeneration solar cells operating under these ideal conditions could potentially have conversion efficiency of up to 42%. This compares favorably to the 30% efficiency limit of a single junction silicon solar cell.


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Graduation Date





Van Stryland, Eric W.


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Sciences










Release Date

December 2010

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)


Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences, Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic

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Physics Commons