American Chemical Society
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Spatial Variation of Available Electronic Excitations within Individual Quantum Dots

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journal contribution
posted on 2013-02-13, 00:00 authored by Hee Joon Jung, Neil P. Dasgupta, Philip B. Van Stockum, Ai Leen Koh, Robert Sinclair, Fritz B. Prinz
Quantum dots (QDs) allow for manipulation of the position and energy levels of electrons at sub-10 nm length scales through control of material chemistry, size, and shape. It is known from optical studies that the bandgap of semiconductor QDs increases as their size decreases due to the narrowing of the quantum confinement potential. The mechanism of quantum confinement also indicates that the localized properties within individual QDs should depend on their shape in addition to their size, but direct observations of this effect have proven challenging due to the limited spatial resolution of measurement techniques at this scale and the ability to remove contributions from the surroundings. Here we present experimental evidence of spatial variations in the lowest available electron transition energy within a series of single electrically isolated QDs due to a dome-shaped geometry, measured using electron energy-loss spectroscopy in a (scanning) transmission electron microscope [(S)­TEM-EELS]. We observe a consistent increase in the energy onset of electronic excitations from the lateral center of the dot toward the edges, which we attribute purely to shape. This trend is in qualitative agreement with a simple quantum simulation of the local density of states in a dome-shaped QD.