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Exploring size and state dynamics in CdSe quantum dots using two-dimensional electronic spectroscopy.

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Development of optoelectronic technologies based on quantum dots depends on measuring, optimizing, and ultimately predicting charge carrier dynamics in the nanocrystal. In such systems, size inhomogeneity and the photoexcited population distribution among various excitonic states have distinct effects on electron and hole relaxation, which are difficult to distinguish spectroscopically. Two-dimensional electronic spectroscopy can help to untangle these effects by resolving excitation energy and subsequent nonlinear response in a single experiment. Using a filament-generated continuum as a pump and probe source, we collect two-dimensional spectra with sufficient spectral bandwidth to follow dynamics upon excitation of the lowest three optical transitions in a polydisperse ensemble of colloidal CdSe quantum dots. We first compare to prior transient absorption studies to confirm excitation-state-dependent dynamics such as increased surface-trapping upon excitation of hot electrons. Second, we demonstrate fast band-edge electron-hole pair solvation by ligand and phonon modes, as the ensemble relaxes to the photoluminescent state on a sub-picosecond time-scale. Third, we find that static disorder due to size polydispersity dominates the nonlinear response upon excitation into the hot electron manifold; this broadening mechanism stands in contrast to that of the band-edge exciton. Finally, we demonstrate excitation-energy dependent hot-carrier relaxation rates, and we describe how two-dimensional electronic spectroscopy can complement other transient nonlinear techniques.

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