Molecular surface programming of rectifying junctions between InAs colloidal quantum dot solids

Maral Vafaie, Amin Morteza Najarian, Jian Xu, Lee J. Richter, Ruipeng Li, Yangning Zhang, Muhammad Imran, Pan Xia, Hyeong Woo Ban, Larissa Levina, Ajay Singh, Jet Meitzner, Andras G. Pattantyus-Abraham, F. Pelayo García de Arquer, Edward H. Sargent*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Heavy-metal-free III–V colloidal quantum dots (CQDs) show promise in optoelectronics: Recent advancements in the synthesis of large-diameter indium arsenide (InAs) CQDs provide access to short-wave infrared (IR) wavelengths for three-dimensional ranging and imaging. In early studies, however, we were unable to achieve a rectifying photodiode using CQDs and molybdenum oxide/polymer hole transport layers, as the shallow valence bandedge (5.0 eV) was misaligned with the ionization potentials of the widely used transport layers. This occurred when increasing CQD diameter to decrease the bandgap below 1.1 eV. Here, we develop a rectifying junction among InAs CQD layers, where we use molecular surface modifiers to tune the energy levels of InAs CQDs electrostatically. Previously developed bifunctional dithiol ligands, established for II-VI and IV-VI CQDs, exhibit slow reaction kinetics with III-V surfaces, causing the exchange to fail. We study carboxylate and thiolate binding groups, united with electron-donating free end groups, that shift upward the valence bandedge of InAs CQDs, producing valence band energies as shallow as 4.8 eV. Photophysical studies combined with density functional theory show that carboxylate-based passivants participate in strong bidentate bridging with both In and As on the CQD surface. The tuned CQD layer incorporated into a photodiode structure achieves improved performance with EQE (external quantum efficiency) of 35% (>1 µm) and dark current density < 400 nA cm-2, a >25% increase in EQE and >90% reduced dark current density compared to the reference device. This work represents an advance over previous III-V CQD short-wavelength IR photodetectors (EQE < 5%, dark current > 10,000 nA cm-2).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2305327120
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number41
StatePublished - Oct 3 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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