Photon counting statistics for blinking CdSe-ZnS quantum dots: A lévy walk process

G. Margolin, V. Protasenko, M. Kuno, E. Barkai

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63 Scopus citations


We analyze photon statistics of blinking CdSe - ZnS nanocrystals interacting with a continuous wave laser field, showing that the process is described by a ballistic Lévy walk. In particular, we show that Mandel's Q parameter, describing the fluctuations of the photon counts, is increasing with time even in the limit of long time. This behavior is in agreement with the theory of Silbey and co-workers (Jung et al. Chem. Phys. 2002, 284, 181), and in contrast to all existing examples where Q approaches a constant, independent of time in the long time limit. We then analyze the distribution of the time averaged intensities, showing that they exhibit a nonergodic behavior, namely, the time averages remain random even in the limit of a long measurement time. In particular, the distribution of occupation times in the on-state compares favorably to a theory of weak ergodicity breaking of blinking nanocrystals. We show how our data analysis yields information on the amplitudes of power-law decaying on and off time distributions, information not available using standard data analysis of on and off time histograms. Photon statistics reveals fluctuations in the intensity of the bright state indicating that it is composed of several states. Photon statistics exhibits a Levy walk behavior also when an ensemble of 100 dots is investigated, indicating that the strange kinetics can be observed already at the level of small ensembles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19053-19060
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number38
StatePublished - 28 Sep 2006


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