We have investigated chloroform solutions containing tris(4,7-diphenyl-1,10-phenanthroline) ruthenium(II) and CdTe nanocrystal quantum dots (5.6 nm diameter). The electronic levels of these two components are such that the Ru complex can act as an energy donor towards the quantum dot, which can thus behave as an energy acceptor. Steady-state and time-resolved spectroscopic experiments indicate that the Ru complexes and the CdTe nanocrystals self-assemble to give stable 1 : 1 adducts, in which the luminescence of the former units is strongly quenched. Such a quenching can be ascribed to either energy transfer to the CdTe quantum dot, or to electron transfer from the CdTe valence band to the excited Ru complex. However, no supporting evidence for the occurrence of photoinduced energy transfer in the adduct could be found. The CdTe luminescence is also slightly quenched in the presence of the ruthenium complex. The strong association of the metal complexes with the nanocrystals suggests that self-assembly strategies may be effectively employed to achieve surface functionalization of semiconductor quantum dots with molecular units.
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