7th September 2018

Evidence of Band-Edge Hole Levels Inversion in Spherical CuInS2 Quantum Dots

CuInS2 (CIS) quantum dots (QDs) have emerged as one of the most promising candidates for application in a number of new technologies, mostly due to their heavy-metal-free composition and their unique optical properties. Among those, the large Stokes shift and the long-lived excited state are the most striking ones. Although these properties are important, the physical mechanism that originates them is still under debate. Here, we use two-photon absorption spectroscopy and ultrafast dynamics studies to investigate the physical origin of those phenomena. From the two-photon absorption spectroscopy, we observe yet another unique property of CIS QDs, a two-photon absorption transition below the one-photon absorption band edge, which has never been observed before for any other semiconductor nanostructure. This originates from the inversion of the 1S and 1P hole level order at the top of the valence band and results in a blue-shift of the experimentally measured one photon absorption edge by nearly 100 to 200 meV. However, this shift is not large enough to account for the Stokes shift observed, 200–500 meV. Consequently, despite the existence of the below band gap optical transition, photoluminescence in CIS QDs must originate from trap sites. These conclusions are reinforced by the multiexciton dynamics studies. From those, we demonstrate that biexciton Auger recombination behaves similarly to negative trion dynamics on these nanomaterials, which suggests that the trap state is an electron donating site. Access the full paper here.