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Highly efficient resonant coupling of optical excitations in hybrid organic/inorganic semiconductor nanostructures


The integration of organic and inorganic semiconductors on the nanoscale offers the possibility of developing new photonic devices that combine the best features of these two distinct classes of material. Such devices could, for example, benefit from the large oscillator strengths found in organic materials and the nonlinear optical properties of inorganic species. Here we describe a novel hybrid organic/inorganic nanocomposite in which alternating monolayers of J-aggregates of cyanine dye and crystalline semiconductor quantum dots are grown by a layer-by-layer self-assembly technique. We demonstrate near-field photon-mediated coupling of vastly dissimilar optical excitations in the two materials that can reach efficiencies of up to 98% at room temperature. By varying the size of the quantum dots and thus tuning their optical resonance for absorption and emission, we also show how the ability of J-aggregates to harvest light can be harnessed to increase the effective absorption cross section of the quantum dots by up to a factor of ten. Combining organic and inorganic semiconductors in this way could lead to novel nanoscale designs for light-emitting, photovoltaic and sensor applications1,2,3,4.

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Figure 1: Hybrid organic–inorganic (J-aggregate/QD) multilayer film deposited by LBL assembly.
Figure 2: Optical characterizations of hybrid film I to explore resonance energy transfer from QDs to J-aggregates.
Figure 3: Optical characterizations of hybrid film II to explore resonance energy transfer from J-aggregate to QD.


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This work was supported by the US Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation. We would like to thank S. Sun for support in sample preparation, G. T. R. Palmore for making the fluorescence spectrophotometer available for our use and R. Zia for valuable discussions.

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Correspondence to A. V. Nurmikko.

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Zhang, Q., Atay, T., Tischler, J. et al. Highly efficient resonant coupling of optical excitations in hybrid organic/inorganic semiconductor nanostructures. Nature Nanotech 2, 555–559 (2007).

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