Nano Letters

Trion Emission Dominates the Low-Temperature Photoluminescence of CdSe Nanoplatelets

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Colloidal nanoplatelets (NPLs) are atomically flat, quasi-two-dimensional particles of a semiconductor. Despite intense interest in their optical properties, several observations concerning the emission of CdSe NPLs remain puzzling. While their ensemble photoluminescence spectrum consists of a single narrow peak at room temperature, two distinct emission features appear at temperatures below ∼160 K. Several competing explanations for the origin of this two-color emission have been proposed. Here, we present temperature- and time-dependent experiments demonstrating that the two emission colors are due to two subpopulations of uncharged and charged NPLs. We study dilute films of isolated NPLs, thus excluding any explanation relying on collective effects due to NPL stacking. Temperature-dependent measurements explain that trion emission from charged NPLs is bright at cryogenic temperatures, while temperature activation of nonradiative Auger recombination quenches the trion emission above 160 K. Our findings clarify many of the questions surrounding the photoluminescence of CdSe NPLs.