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Effect of Al3+ Co-doping on the Dopant Local Structure, Optical Properties, and Exciton Dynamics in Cu+‑Doped ZnSe Nanocrystals

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journal contribution
posted on 2016-02-18, 14:19 authored by Sheraz Gul, Jason Kyle Cooper, Per-Anders Glans, Jinghua Guo, Vittal K. Yachandra, Junko Yano, Jin Zhong Zhang
The dopant local structure and optical properties of Cu-doped ZnSe (ZnSe:Cu) and Cu and Al co-doped ZnSe (ZnSe:Cu,Al) nanocrystals (NCs) were studied with an emphasis on understanding the impact of introducing Al as a co-dopant. Quantum-confined NCs with zinc blende crystal structure and particle size of 6 ± 0.6 Å were synthesized using a wet chemical route. The local structure of the Cu dopant, studied by extended X-ray absorption fine structure, indicated that Cu in ZnSe:Cu NCs occupies a site that is neither substitutional nor interstitial and is adjacent to a Se vacancy. Additionally, we estimated that approximately 25 ± 8% of Cu was located on the surface of the NC. Al3+ co-doping aids in Cu doping by accounting for the charge imbalance originated by Cu+ doping and consequently reduces surface Cu doping. The Cu ions remain distorted from the center of the tetrahedron to one of the triangular faces. The lifetime of the dopant-related photoluminescence was found to increase from 550 ± 60 to 700 ± 60 ns after Al co-doping. DFT calculations were used to obtain the density of states of a model system to help explain the optical properties and dynamics processes observed. This study demonstrates that co-doping using different cations with complementary oxidation states is an effective method to enhance optical properties of doped semiconductor NCs of interest for various photonics applications.