Localized plasmon-coupled semiconductor nanocrystal emitters for innovative device applications
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Quantum confinement allows for the development of novel luminescent materials such as colloidal semiconductor quantum dots for a variety of photonic applications spanning from biomedical labeling to white light generation. However, such device applications require efficient photoluminescence. To this end, in this thesis we investigate the spontaneous emission characteristics of semiconductor nanocrystal emitters under different conditions and their enhancement and controlled modification via plasmonic resonance coupling, placing metallic nanoparticles in their proximity, for innovative device applications. We first present our theoretical and experimental work on the optical characterization of nanocyrstals (e.g., CdSe, CdS, and CdSe/ZnS) including absorption/photoluminescence, time-resolved luminescence, and excitation spectra measurements. Here we demonstrate very strong electromodulation (up to 90%) of photoluminescence and absorption of such nanocrystals (nanodots and nanorods) for optical modulator applications. Second, we present our electromagnetic modeling on the optical response of metal nanoparticles using finite-difference-time-domain method. For the first time, using localized plasmons of metal nanoisland films (nano-silver) carefully spectrally and spatially tuned for optimal coupling conditions, we report very significant controlled modifications of nanocrystal emission including the peak emission wavelength shift (by 14nm), emission linewidth reduction (by 10nm with 22% FWHM reduction), photoluminescence intensity enhancement (15.1- and 21.6-fold compared to the control groups of the same nanocrystals with no plasmonic coupling and those with identical nano-silver but no dielectric spacer in the case of non-radiative energy transfer, respectively), and selectable peaking of surface-state emission at desired wavelengths. Such localized plasmonic engineering of nanocrystal emitters opens new possibilities for our lightemitting and photovoltaic devices.