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Empirical equations can be determined by fitting experimental data of extinction coefficient per mole of Group 12-16 semiconductor quantum dots, at 250 °C, to the diameter of the quantum dot, [link] , [link] , and [link] .

The concentration of the quantum dots can then be then be determined by using the Beer Lambert law as given by [link] .

Qualitative information

Apart from quantitative data such as the size of the quantum dots and concentration of the quantum dots, a lot of qualitative information can be derived from the absorption spectra.

Size distribution

If there is a very narrow size distribution, the first exciton peak will be very sharp ( [link] ). This is because due to the narrow size distribution, the differences in band gap between different sized particles will be very small and hence most of the electrons will get excited over a smaller range of wavelengths. In addition, if there is a narrow size distribution, the higher exciton peaks are also seen clearly.

Narrow emission spectra (a) and broad emission spectra (b) of CdSe QDs.

Shaped particles

In the case of a spherical quantum dot, in all dimensions, the particle is quantum confined ( [link] ). In the case of a nanorod, whose length is not in the quantum regime, the quantum effects are determined by the width of the nanorod. Similar is the case in tetrapods or four legged structures. The quantum effects are determined by the thickness of the arms. 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. Since the thickness of the rod or tetrapod is responsible for the quantum effects, the absorption spectrum of rods and tetrapods has sharper features as compared to a quantum dot. Hence, qualitatively it is possible to differentiate between quantum dots and other shaped particles.

Different shaped nanoparticles with the arrows indicating the dimension where quantum confinement effects are observed.

Crystal lattice information

In the case of CdSe semiconductor quantum dots it has been shown that it is possible to estimate the crystal lattice of the quantum dot from the adsorption spectrum ( [link] ), and hence determine if the structure is zinc blend or wurtzite.

Zinc blende and wurtzite CdSe absorption spectra. Adapted from J. Jasieniak, C. Bullen, J. van Embden, and P. Mulvaney, J. Phys. Chem. B , 2005, 109 , 20665.

Uv-vis absorption spectra of group 12-16 semiconductor nanoparticles

Cadmium selenide

Cadmium selenide (CdSe) is one of the most popular Group 12-16 semiconductors. This is mainly because the band gap (712 nm or 1.74 eV) energy of CdSe. Thus, the nanoparticles of CdSe can be engineered to have a range of band gaps throughout the visible range, corresponding to the major part of the energy that comes from the solar spectrum. This property of CdSe along with its fluorescing properties is used in a variety of applications such as solar cells and light emitting diodes. Though cadmium and selenium are known carcinogens, the harmful biological effects of CdSe can be overcome by coating the CdSe with a layer of zinc sulfide. Thus CdSe, can also be used as bio-markers, drug-delivery agents, paints and other applications.

A typical absorption spectrum of narrow size distribution wurtzite CdSe quantum dot is shown in [link] . A size evolving absorption spectra is shown in [link] . However, a complete analysis of the sample is possible only by also studying the fluorescence properties of CdSe.

Wurtzite CdSe quantum dot. Adapted from X. Zhong, Y. Feng, and Y. Zhang, J. Phys. Chem. C , 2007, 111 , 526.
Size evolving absorption spectra of CdSe quantum dots.

Cadmium telluride (cdte)

Cadmium telluride has a band gap of 1.44 eV (860 nm) and as such it absorbs in the infrared region. Like CdSe, the sizes of CdTe can be engineered to have different band edges and thus, different absorption spectra as a function of wavelength. A typical CdTe spectra is shown in [link] . Due to the small bandgap energy of CdTe, it can be used in tandem with CdSe to absorb in a greater part of the solar spectrum.

Size evolving absorption spectra of CdTe quantum dots from 3 nm to 7 nm. Adapted from C. Qi-Fan, W. Wen-Xing, G. Ying-Xin, L. Meng-Ying, X. Shu-Kun and Z. Xiu-Juan, Chin. J. Anal. Chem. , 2007, 35 , 135.

Other group 12-16 semiconductor systems

[link] shows the bulk band gap of other Group 12-16 semiconductor systems. The band gap of ZnS falls in the UV region, while those of ZnSe, CdS, and ZnTe fall in the visible region.

Bulk band gaps of different Group 12-16 semiconductors.
Material Band gap (eV) Wavelength (nm)
ZnS 3.61 343.2
ZnSe 2.69 460.5
ZnTe 2.39 518.4
CdS 2.49 497.5
CdSe 1.74 712.1
CdTe 1.44 860.3

Heterostructures of group 12-16 semiconductor systems

It is often desirable to have a combination of two Group 12-16 semiconductor system quantum heterostructures of different shapes like dots and tetrapods, for applications in solar cells, bio-markers, etc. Some of the most interesting systems are ZnS shell-CdSe core systems, such as the CdSe/CdS rods and tetrapods.

[link] shows a typical absorption spectra of CdSe-ZnS core-shell system. This system is important because of the drastically improved fluorescence properties because of the addition of a wide band gap ZnS shell than the core CdSe. In addition with a ZnS shell, CdSe becomes bio-compatible.

Absorption spectra of CdSe core, ZnS shell. Adapted from C. Qing-Zhu, P. Wang, X. Wang and Y. Li, Nanoscale Res. Lett ., 2008, 3 , 213.

A CdSe seed, CdS arm nanorods system is also interesting. Combining CdSe and CdS in a single nanostructure creates a material with a mixed dimensionality where holes are confined to CdSe while electrons can move freely between CdSe and CdS phases.


  • S. V. Gapoenko, Optical Properties of Semiconductor Nanocrystals , Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (2003).
  • W. W. Yu, L. Qu, W. Guo, and X. Peng, Chem. Mater. , 2003, 15 , 2854.
  • J. Jasieniak, C. Bullen, J. van Embden, and P. Mulvaney, J. Phys. Chem. B , 2005, 109 , 20665.
  • X. Zhong, Y. Feng, and Y. Zhang, J. Phys. Chem. C , 2007, 111 , 526.
  • D. V. Talapin, J. H. Nelson, E. V. Shevchenko, S. Aloni, B. Sadtler, and A. P. Alivisatos, Nano Lett. , 2007, 7 , 2951.
  • C. Qing-Zhu, P. Wang, X. Wang, and Y. Li, Nanoscale Res. Lett. , 2008, 3 , 213.
  • C. Qi-Fan, W. Wen-Xing, G. Ying-Xin, L. Meng-Ying, X. Shu-Kun, and Z. Xiu-Juan, Chin. J. Anal. Chem. , 2007, 35 , 135.

Questions & Answers

Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
what's the easiest and fastest way to the synthesize AgNP?
Damian Reply
types of nano material
abeetha Reply
I start with an easy one. carbon nanotubes woven into a long filament like a string
many many of nanotubes
what is the k.e before it land
what is the function of carbon nanotubes?
I'm interested in nanotube
what is nanomaterials​ and their applications of sensors.
Ramkumar Reply
what is nano technology
Sravani Reply
what is system testing?
preparation of nanomaterial
Victor Reply
Yes, Nanotechnology has a very fast field of applications and their is always something new to do with it...
Himanshu Reply
good afternoon madam
what is system testing
what is the application of nanotechnology?
In this morden time nanotechnology used in many field . 1-Electronics-manufacturad IC ,RAM,MRAM,solar panel etc 2-Helth and Medical-Nanomedicine,Drug Dilivery for cancer treatment etc 3- Atomobile -MEMS, Coating on car etc. and may other field for details you can check at Google
anybody can imagine what will be happen after 100 years from now in nano tech world
after 100 year this will be not nanotechnology maybe this technology name will be change . maybe aftet 100 year . we work on electron lable practically about its properties and behaviour by the different instruments
name doesn't matter , whatever it will be change... I'm taking about effect on circumstances of the microscopic world
how hard could it be to apply nanotechnology against viral infections such HIV or Ebola?
silver nanoparticles could handle the job?
not now but maybe in future only AgNP maybe any other nanomaterials
I'm interested in Nanotube
this technology will not going on for the long time , so I'm thinking about femtotechnology 10^-15
can nanotechnology change the direction of the face of the world
Prasenjit Reply
At high concentrations (>0.01 M), the relation between absorptivity coefficient and absorbance is no longer linear. This is due to the electrostatic interactions between the quantum dots in close proximity. If the concentration of the solution is high, another effect that is seen is the scattering of light from the large number of quantum dots. This assumption only works at low concentrations of the analyte. Presence of stray light.
Ali Reply

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