Recent transient absorption experiments on CdS nanorods suggest that photoexcited holes rapidly trap to the surface of these particles and then undergo diffusion along the rod surface. In this Letter, we present a semiperiodic density functional theory model for the CdS nanocrystal surface, analyze it, and comment on the nature of both the hole-trap states and the mechanism by which the holes diffuse. Hole states near the top of the valence band form an energetic near continuum with the bulk and localize to the nonbonding sp3 orbitals on surface sulfur atoms. After localization, the holes form nonadiabatic small polarons that move between the sulfur orbitals on the surface of the particle in a series of uncorrelated, incoherent, thermally activated hops at room temperature. The surface-trapped holes are deeply in the weak-electronic coupling limit and, as a result, undergo slow diffusion.
Cline, R. P., Utterback, J. K., Strong, S. E., Dukovic, G., and Eaves, J. D., On the Nature of Trapped-Hole States in CdS Nanocrystals and the Mechanism of Their Diffusion. J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 9, 3532 (2018)