This Letter describes the reversible modulation of the electrostatic potential at the interface between a colloidal PbS quantum dot (QD) and solvent, through the protonation equilibrium of the QD's histamine-derivatized dihydrolipoic acid (DHLA) ligand shell. The electrostatic potential is sensitively monitored by the yield of photoinduced electron transfer from the QD to a charged electron acceptor, 9,10-anthraquinone-2-sulfonate (AQ). The permeability of the DHLA coating to the AQ progressively increases as the average degree of protonation of the ligand shell increases from 0 to 92%, as quantified by 1H NMR, upon successive additions of p-toluenesulfonic acid; this increase results in a decrease in the photoluminescence (PL) intensity of the QDs by a factor of 6.7. The increase in permeability is attributable to favorable electrostatic interactions between the ligands and AQ. This work suggests the potential of the combination of near-IR-emitting QDs and molecular quenchers as robust local H+ sensors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry