Incoherent nonadiabatic to coherent adiabatic transition of electron transfer in colloidal quantum dot molecules

BK Hou and M Thoss and U Banin and E Rabani, NATURE COMMUNICATIONS, 14, 3073 (2023).

DOI: 10.1038/s41467-023-38470-0

Electron transfer is a fundamental process in chemistry, biology, and physics. One of the most intriguing questions concerns the realization of the transitions between nonadiabatic and adiabatic regimes of electron transfer. Using colloidal quantum dot molecules, we computationally demonstrate how the hybridization energy (electronic coupling) can be tuned by changing the neck dimensions and/or the quantum dot sizes. This provides a handle to tune the electron transfer from the incoherent nonadiabatic regime to the coherent adiabatic regime in a single system. We develop an atomistic model to account for several states and couplings to the lattice vibrations and utilize the mean- field mixed quantum-classical method to describe the charge transfer dynamics. Here, we show that charge transfer rates increase by several orders of magnitude as the system is driven to the coherent, adiabatic limit, even at elevated temperatures, and delineate the inter-dot and torsional acoustic modes that couple most strongly to the charge transfer dynamics. The transition between nonadiabatic and adiabatic electron transfer regimes has been observed in molecular donor-bridge- acceptor complexes. Here, the authors computationally show how to control this transition in colloidal quantum dot molecules and achieve coherent electron transfer at room temperature.

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