Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Problem Of Quantum Dot 'Blinking' Solved

Date:
January 29, 2008
Source:
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Summary:
Scientists have found one possible way to induce quantum dots to emit photons faster and more consistently, without their characteristic blinking. The advance could make quantum dots more sensitive as fluorescent tags in biomedical tests and single-molecule studies and steadier sources of single photons for quantum encryption.

JILA scientists have found a way to suppress the blinking problem in quantum dots by bathing them in a chemical solution. This animated image, which demonstrates the basic blinking phenomenon, is made from a series of 40 images taken about one minute apart. Quantum dots actually blink on time scales ranging from millionths of a second to tens of seconds or longer.
Credit: K Kuno/JILA

Quantum dots--tiny, intense, tunable sources of colorful light--are illuminating new opportunities in biomedical research, cryptography and other fields. But these semiconductor nanocrystals also have a secret problem, a kind of nervous tic. They mysteriously tend to "blink" on and off like Christmas tree lights, which can reduce their usefulness.

Related Articles


Scientists at JILA have found one possible way to solve the blinking problem and have induced quantum dots to emit photons (the smallest particles of light) faster and more consistently. The advance could make quantum dots more sensitive as fluorescent tags in biomedical tests and single-molecule studies and steadier sources of single photons for "unbreakable" quantum encryption. JILA is a joint venture of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the University of Colorado at Boulder.

By bathing the dots in a watery solution of an antioxidant chemical used as a food additive, the JILA team increased photon emission rate four- to fivefold, a "shocking" result because the rate at which light radiates is generally considered an immutable property of the dot, JILA/NIST Fellow David Nesbitt says. The JILA scientists dramatically reduced the average time delay between excitation of a quantum dot and resulting photon emission from 21 nanoseconds to 4 nanoseconds while reducing the probability of blinking up to 100 fold. Nesbitt calls blinking the "hidden dirty secret" of quantum dots. (Nesbitt notes that blinking is not always an annoyance. For example, it can serve as a measurement probe of very slow rates of electron flow through nanoscale materials).

The quantum dots used in the JILA experiments were made of cadmium-selenide cores just 4 nanometers wide coated with zinc sulfide. When a dot is excited by a brief laser pulse, one electron is separated from the "hole" it normally occupies. A few nanoseconds later, the electron typically falls back into the hole, sometimes producing a single photon--always in a color that depends on dot size, greenish-yellow in this case. But every so often the electron fails to make it back to its hole and instead is ejected to imperfections on the dot's surface. The chemical added at JILA apparently attaches to these imperfections, blocking the electron from being trapped and thereby preventing the dot from blinking off.

*Journal reference: V. Fomenko and D. J. Nesbitt. Solution control of radiative and nonradiative lifetimes: a novel contribution to quantum dot blinking suppression. Nano Letters. Published online Dec. 21, 2007.

The JILA research was funded in part by the National Science Foundation and NIST.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Institute of Standards and Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Institute of Standards and Technology. "Problem Of Quantum Dot 'Blinking' Solved." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 January 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080123173149.htm>.
National Institute of Standards and Technology. (2008, January 29). Problem Of Quantum Dot 'Blinking' Solved. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080123173149.htm
National Institute of Standards and Technology. "Problem Of Quantum Dot 'Blinking' Solved." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080123173149.htm (accessed March 28, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Inspectors Found Faulty Work Before NYC Blast

Inspectors Found Faulty Work Before NYC Blast

AP (Mar. 27, 2015) An hour before an apparent gas explosion sent flames soaring and debris flying at a Manhattan apartment building, injuring 19 people, utility company inspectors decided the work being done there was faulty. (March 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Facebook Building Plane-Sized Drones For Global Internet

Facebook Building Plane-Sized Drones For Global Internet

Newsy (Mar. 27, 2015) Facebook on Thursday revealed more details about its Internet-connected drone project. The drone is bigger than a 737, but lighter than a car. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robot Returns from International Space Station and Sets Two Guinness World Records

Robot Returns from International Space Station and Sets Two Guinness World Records

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Mar. 27, 2015) The companion robot "Kirobo" returns to earth from the International Space Station and sets two Guinness World Records. Sharon Reich reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Residents Witness Building Explosion, Collapse

Residents Witness Building Explosion, Collapse

AP (Mar. 26, 2015) Witnesses recount the sites and sounds of a massive explosion and subsequent building collapse in the heart of Manhattan&apos;s trendy East Village on Thursday. (March 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins