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  • Concentration – Low concentrations should be used (absorbance<0.2 a.u.) to avoid effects such as self quenching.
  • Solvent – It is important to take into account the solvents used for the test and standard solutions. If the solvents used for both are the same then the comparison is trivial. However, if the solvents in the test and standard solutions are different, this difference needs to be accounted for. This is done by incorporating the solvent refractive indices in the ratio calculation.
  • Standard samples – The standard samples should be characterized thoroughly. In addition, the standard sample used should absorb at the excitation wavelength of the test sample.
  • Sample preparation – It is important that the cuvettes used are clean, scratch free and clear on all four sides. The solvents used must be of spectroscopic grade and should not absorb in the wavelength range.
  • Slit width – The slit widths for all measurements must be kept constant.

The quantum yield of the Group 12-16 semiconductor nanoparticles are affected by many factors such as the following.

  • Surface defects – The surface defects of semiconductor quantum dots occur in the form of unsatisfied valencies. Thus resulting in unwanted recombinations. These unwanted recombinations reduce the loss of energy through radiative decay, and thus reducing the fluorescence.
  • Surface ligands – If the surface ligand coverage is a 100%, there is a smaller chance of surface recombinations to occur.
  • Solvent polarity – If the solvent and the ligand have similar solvent polarities, the nanoparticles are more dispersed, reducing the loss of electrons through recombinations.

Qualitative information

Apart from quantum yield information, the relationship between intensity of fluorescence emission and wavelength, other useful qualitative information such as size distribution, shape of the particle and presence of surface defects can be obtained.

As shown in [link] , the shape of the plot of intensity versus wavelength is a Gaussian distribution. In [link] , the full width at half maximum (FWHM) is given by the difference between the two extreme values of the wavelength at which the photoluminescence intensity is equal to half its maximum value. From the full width half max (FWHM) of the fluorescence intensity Gaussian distribution, it is possible to determine qualitatively the size distribution of the sample. For a Group 12-16 quantum dot sample if the FWHM is greater than 30, the system is very polydisperse and has a large size distribution. It is desirable for all practical applications for the FWHM to be lesser than 30.

Emission spectra of CdSe QDs showing the full width half maximum (FWHM).

From the FWHM of the emission spectra, it is also possible to qualitatively get an idea if the particles are spherical or shaped. During the synthesis of the shaped particles, the thickness of the rod or the arm of the tetrapod does not vary among the different particles, as much as the length of the rods or arms changes. The thickness of the arm or rod is responsible for the quantum effects in shaped particles. In the case of quantum dots, the particle is quantum confined in all dimensions. Thus, any size distribution during the synthesis of quantum dots greatly affects the emission spectra. As a result the FWHM of rods and tetrapods is much smaller as compared to a quantum dot. Hence, qualitatively it is possible to differentiate between quantum dots and other shaped particles.

Another indication of branched structures is the decrease in the intensity of fluorescence peaks. Quantum dots have very high fluorescence values as compared to branched particles, since they are quantum confined in all dimensions as compared to just 1 or 2 dimensions in the case of branched particles.

Fluorescence spectra of different group 12-16 semiconductor nanoparticles

The emission spectra of all Group 12-16 semiconductor nanoparticles are Gaussian curves as shown in [link] and [link] . The only difference between them is the band gap energy, and hence each of the Group 12-16 semiconductor nanoparticles fluoresce over different ranges of wavelengths

Cadmium selenide

Since its bulk band gap (1.74 eV, 712 nm) falls in the visible region cadmium Selenide (CdSe) is used in various applications such as solar cells, light emitting diodes, etc. Size evolving emission spectra of cadmium selenide is shown in [link] . Different sized CdSe particles have different colored fluorescence spectra. Since cadmium and selenide are known carcinogens and being nanoparticles are easily absorbed into the human body, there is some concern regarding these particles. However, CdSe coated with ZnS can overcome all the harmful biological effects, making cadmium selenide nanoparticles one of the most popular 12-16 semiconductor nanoparticle.

Size evolving CdSe emission spectra. Adapted from http://www.physics.mq.edu.au.

A combination of the absorbance and emission spectra is shown in [link] for four different sized particles emitting green, yellow, orange, and red fluorescence.

Absorption and emission spectra of CdSe quantum dots. Adapted from G. Schmid, Nanoparticles: From Theory to Application , Wiley-VCH, Weinham (2004).

Cadmium telluride

Cadmium Telluride (CdTe) has a band gap of 1.44 eV and thus absorbs in the infra red region. The size evolving CdTe emission spectra is shown in [link] .

Size evolution spectra of CdTe quantum dots.

Adding shells to qds

Capping a core quantum dot with a semiconductor material with a wider bandgap than the core, reduces the nonradiative recombination and results in brighter fluorescence emission. Quantum yields are affected by the presences of free surface charges, surface defects and crystal defects, which results in unwanted recombinations. The addition of a shell reduces the nonradiative transitions and majority of the electrons relax radiatively to the valence band. In addition, the shell also overcomes some of the surface defects.

For the CdSe-core/ZnS-shell systems exhibit much higher quantum yield as compared to core CdSe quantum dots as seen in [link] .

Emission spectra of core CdSe only and CdSe-core/ZnS-shell.


  • A. T. R. Williams, S. A. Winfield, and J. N. Miller, Analyst , 1983, 108 , 1067 .
  • G. Schmid, Nanoparticles: From Theory to Application , Wiley-VCH, Weinham, (2004).
  • J. Y. Hariba, A Guide to Recording Fluorescence Quantum Yield , Jobin Yvon Hariba Limited, Stanmore (2003).
  • C. Qing Zhu, P. Wang, X. Wang, and Y. Li, Nanoscale Res. Lett. ., 2008, 3 , 213.

Questions & Answers

how can chip be made from sand
Eke Reply
is this allso about nanoscale material
are nano particles real
Missy Reply
Hello, if I study Physics teacher in bachelor, can I study Nanotechnology in master?
Lale Reply
no can't
where is the latest information on a no technology how can I find it
where we get a research paper on Nano chemistry....?
Maira Reply
nanopartical of organic/inorganic / physical chemistry , pdf / thesis / review
what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
no nanotechnology is also a part of physics and maths it requires angle formulas and some pressure regarding concepts
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
has a lot of application modern world
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
ya I also want to know the raman spectra
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
Nasa has use it in the 60's, copper as water purification in the moon travel.
nanocopper obvius
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale

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Source:  OpenStax, Nanomaterials and nanotechnology. OpenStax CNX. May 07, 2014 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col10700/1.13
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