Quantum Dots

Quantum dots are semiconductor particles a few nanometres in size, having optical and electronic properties that differ from larger particles due to quantum mechanics. They are a central topic in nanotechnology. When the quantum dots are illuminated by UV light, an electron in the quantum dot can be excited to a state of higher energy. In the case of a semiconducting quantum dot, this process corresponds to the transition of an electron from the valence band to the conductance band. The excited electron can drop back into the valence band releasing its energy as light. This light emission is illustrated in the figure on the right. The color of that light depends on the energy difference between the conductance band and the valence band, or the transition between discretized energy states when band structure is no longer a good definition in QDs. In the language of materials science, nanoscale semiconductor materials tightly confine either electrons or electron holes.

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