Characterization of white light emitting CdSe quantum dots

by Jing Wang

Institution: University of Saskatchewan
Year: 2014
Keywords: quantum dot; white fluorescence; water-soluble; single-molecule
Record ID: 2050058
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10388/ETD-2014-08-1630


A novel type of white light emitting semiconductor quantum dot was characterized at the ensemble and single-molecule level. This kind of semiconductor nanocrystal can be made into white light emitting diodes, which have the potential to replace conventional lighting sources. The quantum dots used in this thesis consisted of a cadmium selenide (CdSe) core, capped with ZnS, and have a surface polymer coating of poly(acrylic acid) (PAA). We have characterized the quantum dot size distribution by using dynamic light scattering (DLS), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), atomic force microscopy (AFM) and UV-Vis spectroscopy. Based on these measurements, it is clear that the white quantum dots are polydisperse, with a core size of 2.4 ± 0.5 nm, though the polymer coating swells considerably in aqueous solution. In order to explore the optical properties, the absorption and emission spectra of the ensemble quantum dots solution were measured and compared to “standard” commercial quantum dots. The emission spectrum of the white quantum dots showed two peaks, a strong blue emission peak and a weaker red emission peak. The fluorescence quantum yield of the white quantum dots was found to be less than that of commercial quantum dots. To explore the behavior of individual quantum dots, spatially-resolved single-molecule images were obtained by a dual-view single molecule fluorescence microscopy with a beam splitter which can separate the emission into red and blue components. It was found that individual white CdSe nanocrystals have a broad emission spectrum and the samples did not consist of a mixed population of red emitters and blue emitters. These results suggest that these white light emitting quantum dots can be used for pure white light LEDs and are a good candidate for the replacement for conventional lighting sources.