Observations of the hot-phonon bottleneck, which is predicted to slow the rate of hot carrier cooling in quantum confined nanocrystals, have been limited to date for reasons that are not fully understood. We used time-resolved infrared spectroscopy to directly measure higher energy intraband transitions in PbS colloidal quantum dots. Direct measurements of these intraband transitions permitted detailed analysis of the electronic overlap of the quantum confined states that may influence their relaxation processes. In smaller PbS nanocrystals, where the hot-phonon bottleneck is expected to be most pronounced, we found that relaxation of parity selection rules combined with stronger electron-phonon coupling led to greater spectral overlap of transitions among the quantum confined states. This created pathways for fast energy transfer and relaxation that may bypass the predicted hot-phonon bottleneck. In contrast, larger, but still quantum confined nanocrystals did not exhibit such relaxation of the parity selection rules and possessed narrower intraband states. These observations were consistent with slower relaxation dynamics that have been measured in larger quantum confined systems. These findings indicated that, at small radii, electron-phonon interactions overcome the advantageous increase in energetic separation of the electronic states for PbS quantum dots. Selection of appropriately sized quantum dots, which minimize spectral broadening due to electron-phonon interactions while maximizing electronic state separation, is necessary to observe the hot-phonon bottleneck. Such optimization may provide a framework for achieving efficient hot carrier collection and multiple exciton generation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)