Accidental Contamination of Substrates and Polymer Films by Organic Quantum Emitters

Nano Lett. 2019 May 8;19(5):3207-3213. doi: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.9b00712. Epub 2019 Apr 23.


We report the observation of ubiquitous contamination of dielectric substrates and poly(methyl methacrylate) matrices by organic molecules with optical transitions in the visible spectral range. Contamination sites of individual solvent-related fluorophores in thin films of poly(methyl methacrylate) constitute fluorescence hotspots with quantum emission statistics and quantum yields approaching 30% at cryogenic temperatures. Our findings not only resolve prevalent puzzles in the assignment of spectral features to various nanoemitters on bare dielectric substrates or in polymer matrices but also identify the means for the simple and cost-efficient realization of single-photon sources in the visible spectral range.

Keywords: Photoluminescence spectroscopy; contamination of substrates and polymer matrices; fluorescence spectroscopy; organic fluorophores; single-molecule spectroscopy; single-photon emitters.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't