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Dielectric Screening Modulates Semicondcutor Nanoplatelet Excitons
preprintsubmitted on 25.02.2021, 02:13 and posted on 26.02.2021, 13:39 by Ashley Shin, Azmain A. Hossain, Stephanie M. Tenney, Xuanheng Tan, Lauren A. Tan, Jonathan Foley, Timothy L. Atallah, Justin Caram
The influence of external dielectric environments is well understood for 2D semiconductor materials but is overlooked for colloidally-grown II-VI nanoplatelets (NPLs). In this work, we synthesize MX (M=Cd, Hg; X= Se, Te) NPLs of varying thicknesses, and apply a modified Elliott model to fit excitonic absorption features and report exciton binding energies for cadmium telluride and mercury chalcogenides for the first time. Our observations indicate that the exciton binding energy is modulated by the dielectric screening of semiconductor material by the external ligand environment. Furthermore, NPL binding energies show a dependence on the number of monolayers consistent with relative effect of internal vs. external dielectric. To describe this, we derive an analytical electrostatic model, reinforcing the hypothesis that the external environment increases the exciton binding energy relative to the bulk—due to the distortion of the Coulombic potential across the NPL surface. We further confirm this effect by decreasing and recovering the exciton binding energy of HgTe NPLs through washing in polarizable solvents. Our results illustrate that NPLs are colloidal analogues of Van der Waals 2D semiconductors and point to surface modification as an approach to control photophysics and device properties.