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Revealing Energy Level Structure of Individual Quantum Dots by Tunneling Rate Measured by Single-Electron Sensitive Electrostatic Force Spectroscopy

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Department of Physics, McGill University, 3600 rue University, Montreal, Quebec H3A2T8, Canada
*E-mail: [email protected]. Phone: +1-514-398-6536. Fax:+1-514-398-8434.
Cite this: Nano Lett. 2015, 15, 4, 2324–2328
Publication Date (Web):March 11, 2015
Copyright © 2015 American Chemical Society

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    Abstract Image

    We present theoretical and experimental studies of the effect of the density of states of a quantum dot (QD) on the rate of single-electron tunneling that can be directly measured by electrostatic force microscopy (e-EFM) experiments. In e-EFM, the motion of a biased atomic force microscope cantilever tip modulates the charge state of a QD in the Coulomb blockade regime. The charge dynamics of the dot, which is detected through its back-action on the capacitavely coupled cantilever, depends on the tunneling rate of the QD to a back-electrode. The density of states of the QD can therefore be measured through its effect on the energy dependence of tunneling rate. We present experimental data on individual 5 nm colloidal gold nanoparticles that exhibit a near continuous density of state at 77 K. In contrast, our analysis of already published data on self-assembled InAs QDs at 4 K clearly reveals discrete degenerate energy levels.

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    Detail of sample preparation, tunneling barrier engineering, conversion of dissipation in different units, animated figures of Figure 2. (i) Continuous density of states. (ii) Single nondegerante level. (iii) Single 2-fold degenerate level with zero electron occupancy. (iv) Single 2-fold degenerate level with one electron occupancy. This material is available free of charge via the Internet at

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