American Chemical Society
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Reversible Ligand Detachment from CdSe Quantum Dots Following Photoexcitation

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journal contribution
posted on 2024-04-04, 14:46 authored by McKenna N. Grega, Jianing Gan, Muhammad Noman, John B. Asbury
The nanocrystal–ligand boundaries of colloidal quantum dots (QDs) mediate charge and energy transfer processes that underpin photochemical and photocatalytic transformations at their surfaces. We used time-resolved infrared spectroscopy combined with transient electronic spectroscopy to probe vibrational modes of the carboxylate anchoring groups of stearate ligands attached to cadmium selenide (CdSe) QDs that were optically excited in solid nanocrystal films. The vibrational frequencies of surface-bonded carboxylate groups revealed their interactions with surface-localized holes in the excited states of the QDs. We also observed transient and reversible photoinduced ligand detachment from CdSe nanocrystals within their excited state lifetime. By probing both surface charge distributions and ligand dynamics on QDs in their excited states, we open a pathway to explore how the nanocrystal–ligand boundary can be understood and controlled for the design of QD architectures that most effectively drive charge transfer processes in solar energy harvesting and photoredox catalysis applications.