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Probing Trions at Chemically Tailored Trapping Defects

TitleProbing Trions at Chemically Tailored Trapping Defects
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsH. Kwon, M. Kim, M. Nutz, N. F. Hartmann, V. Perrin, B. Meany, M. S. Hofmann, C. W. Clark, H. Htoon, S. K. Doorn, A. Hoegele, and YH. Wang
JournalACS Central Sci.
Date PublishedNOV 27
Type of ArticleArticle

Trions, charged excitons that are reminiscent of hydrogen and positronium ions, have been intensively studied for energy harvesting, light-emitting diodes, lasing, and quantum computing applications because of their inherent connection with electron spin and dark excitons. However, these quasi-particles are typically present as a minority species at room temperature making it difficult for quantitative experimental measurements. Here, we show that by chemically engineering the well depth of sp(3) quantum defects through a series of alkyl functional groups covalently attached to semiconducting carbon nanotube hosts, trions can be efficiently generated and localized at the trapping chemical defects. The exciton-electron binding energy of the trapped trion approaches 119 meV, which more than doubles that of ``free{''} trions in the same host material (54 meV) and other nanoscale systems (2-45 meV). Magnetoluminescence spectroscopy suggests the absence of dark states in the energetic vicinity of trapped trions. Unexpectedly, the trapped trions are approximately 7.3-fold brighter than the brightest previously reported and 16 times as bright as native nanotube excitons, with a photoluminescence lifetime that is more than 100 times larger than that of free trions. These intriguing observations are understood by an efficient conversion of dark excitons to bright trions at the defect sites. This work makes trions synthetically accessible and uncovers the rich photophysics of these tricarrier quasi-particles, which may find broad implications in bioimaging, chemical sensing, energy harvesting, and light emitting in the short-wave infrared.