DOI: 10.1063/1.445676 ISSN:

A simple model for the ionization potential, electron affinity, and aqueous redox potentials of small semiconductor crystallites

L. E. Brus
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • General Physics and Astronomy

Large semiconductor crystals have intrinsic electronic properties dependent upon the bulk band structure. As the crystal becomes small, a new regime is entered in which the electronic properties (excited states, ionization potential, electron affinity) should be strongly dependent upon the electron and hole in a confined space. We address the possibility of a shift in the photochemical redox potential of one carrier, as a function of crystallite size. As a semiquantitative guide, one might expect a shift on the order of h2/8em*R2 due to the kinetic energy of localization in the small crystallite. We model the elementary quantum mechanics of a charged crystallite using (a) the effective mass approximation, (b) an electrostatic potential for dielectric polarization, and (c) penetration of the carrier outside the crystallite in a cases of small effective mass. Shifts of several tenths of an eV appear possible in crystallites of diameter 50 Å. The carrier charge density reside near the crystallite surface if the effective mass is very small.

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