The ligand shell around colloidal quantum dots mediates the electron and energy transfer processes that underpin their use in optoelectronic and photocatalytic applications. Here, we show that the surface chemistry of carboxylate anchoring groups of oleate ligands passivating PbS quantum dots undergoes significant changes when the quantum dots are excited to their excitonic states. We directly probe the changes of surface chemistry using time-resolved mid-infrared spectroscopy that records the evolution of the vibrational frequencies of carboxylate groups following excitation of the electronic states. The data reveal a reduction of the Pb-O coordination of carboxylate anchoring groups to lead atoms at the quantum dot surfaces. The dynamic surface chemistry of the ligands may increase their surface mobility in the excited state and enhance the ability of molecular species to penetrate the ligand shell to undergo energy and charge transfer processes that depend sensitively on distance.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- General Materials Science
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry