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Universal emission intermittency in quantum dots, nanorods and nanowires

Abstract

Virtually all known fluorophores exhibit mysterious episodes of emission intermittency. A remarkable feature of the phenomenon is a power-law distribution of on- and off-times observed in colloidal semiconductor quantum dots, nanorods, nanowires and some organic dyes. For nanoparticles, the resulting power law extends over an extraordinarily wide dynamic range: nine orders of magnitude in probability density and five to six orders of magnitude in time. Exponents hover about the ubiquitous value of −3/2. Dark states routinely last for tens of seconds—practically forever on quantum mechanical timescales. Despite such infinite states of darkness, the dots miraculously recover and start emitting again. Although the underlying mechanism responsible for this phenomenon remains a mystery and many questions persist, we argue that substantial theoretical progress has been made.

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Figure 1: Time distributions for intermittency.
Figure 2: Schematic diagrams of blinking models.

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to acknowledge the support of NSF, ONR and DOE-BES.

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Correspondence to Boldizsár Jankó.

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Frantsuzov, P., Kuno, M., Jankó, B. et al. Universal emission intermittency in quantum dots, nanorods and nanowires. Nature Phys 4, 519–522 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1038/nphys1001

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