The ability of metal nanoparticles to capture light through plasmon excitations offers an opportunity for enhancing the optical absorption of plasmon-coupled semiconductor materials via energy transfer. This process, however, requires that the semiconductor component is electrically insulated to prevent a "backward" charge flow into metal and interfacial states, which causes a premature dissociation of excitons. Here we demonstrate that such an energy exchange can be achieved on the nanoscale by using nonepitaxial Au/CdS core/shell nanocomposites. These materials are fabricated via a multistep cation exchange reaction, which decouples metal and semiconductor phases leading to fewer interfacial defects. Ultrafast transient absorption measurements confirm that the lifetime of excitons in the CdS shell (tau approximate to 300 ps) is much longer than lifetimes of excitons in conventional, reduction-grown Au/CdS heteronanostructures. As a result, the energy of metal nanoparticles can be efficiently utilized by the semiconductor component without undergoing significant nonradiative energy losses, an important property for catalytic or photovoltaic applications. The reduced rate of exciton dissociation in the CdS domain of Au/CdS nanocomposites was attributed to the nonepitaxial nature of Au/CdS interfaces associated with low defect density and a high potential barrier of the interstitial phase.
Lambright, Scott; Butaeva, Evgeniia; Razgoniaeva, Natalia; Hopkins, Thomas; Smith, Bryan; Perera, Dimuthu; Corbin, Jonathan; Khon, Elena; Thomas, Rebekah; Moroz, Pavel; Mereshchenko, Andrey; Tarnovsky, Alexander N.; and Zamkov, Mikhail, "Enhanced Lifetime Of Excitons In Nonepitaxial Au/cds Core/shell Nanocrystals" (2014). Chemistry Faculty Publications. 155.