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Insightful knowledge on quantum nanostructured materials is paramount to engineer and exploit their vast gamut of applications. Here, a formalism based on the single-band effective mass equation was developed to determine the light absorption of colloidal quantum dots (CQDs) embedded in a wider bandgap semiconductor host, employing only three parameters (dots/host potential barrier, effective mass, and QD size). It was ascertained how to tune such parameters to design the energy level structure and consequent optical response. Our findings show that the CQD size has the biggest effect on the number and energy of the confined levels, while the potential barrier causes a linear shift of their values. While smaller QDs allow wider energetic separation between levels (as desired for most quantum-based technologies), the larger dots with higher number of levels are those that exhibit the strongest absorption. Nevertheless, it was unprecedently shown that such quantum-enabled absorption coefficients can reach the levels (104–105cm−1) of bulk semiconductors. [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish
Article number231
JournalLight: Science & Applications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


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