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Excited-State Dynamics in Colloidal Semiconductor Nanocrystals

ABSTRACT

Colloidal semiconductor nanocrystals have attracted continuous worldwide interest over the last three decades owing to their remarkable and unique size- and shape-, dependent properties. The colloidal nature of these nanomaterials allows one to take full advantage of nanoscale effects to tailor their optoelectronic and physical–chemical properties, yielding materials that combine size-, shape-, and composition-dependent properties with easy surface manipulation and solution processing. These features have turned the study of colloidal semiconductor nanocrystals into a dynamic and multidisciplinary research field, with fascinating fundamental challenges and dazzling application prospects. This review focuses on the excited-state dynamics in these intriguing nanomaterials, covering a range of different relaxation mechanisms that span over 15 orders of magnitude, from a few femtoseconds to a few seconds after photoexcitation. In addition to reviewing the state of the art and highlighting the essential concepts in the field, we also discuss the relevance of the different relaxation processes to a number of potential applications, such as photovoltaics and LEDs. The fundamental physical and chemical principles needed to control and understand the properties of colloidal semiconductor nanocrystals are also addressed.