Theory of Photoluminescence Spectral Line Shapes of Semiconductor Nanocrystals

Kailai Lin*, Dipti Jasrasaria, Jason J. Yoo, Moungi Bawendi, Hendrik Utzat*, Eran Rabani*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Single-molecule photoluminescence (PL) spectroscopy of semiconductor nanocrystals (NCs) reveals the nature of exciton-phonon interactions in NCs. Understanding the homogeneous spectral line shapes and their temperature dependence remains an open problem. Here, we develop an atomistic model to describe the PL spectrum of NCs, accounting for excitonic effects, phonon dispersion relations, and exciton-phonon couplings. We validate our model using single-NC measurements on CdSe/CdS NCs from T = 4 to 290 K, and we find that the slightly asymmetric main peak at low temperatures is comprised of a narrow zero-phonon line (ZPL) and acoustic phonon sidebands. Furthermore, we identify the specific phonon modes that give rise to the optical phonon sidebands. At temperatures above 200 K, the spectral line width shows a stronger dependence upon the temperature, which we demonstrate to be correlated with higher order exciton-phonon couplings. We also identify the line width dependence upon reorganization energy, NC core sizes, and shell thicknesses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7241-7248
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry Letters
Issue number32
StatePublished - 17 Aug 2023


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