Nano Lett. 2023 Oct 23. doi: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.3c02318. Online ahead of print.
Spectral diffusion (SD) represents a substantial obstacle toward implementation of solid-state quantum emitters as a source of indistinguishable photons. By performing high-resolution emission spectroscopy for individual colloidal quantum dots at cryogenic temperatures, we prove the causal link between the quantum-confined Stark effect and SD. Statistically analyzing the wavelength of emitted photons, we show that increasing the sensitivity of the transition energy to an applied electric field results in amplified spectral fluctuations. This relation is quantitatively fit to a straightforward model, indicating the presence of a stochastic electric field on a microscopic scale, whose standard deviation is 9 kV/cm, on average. The current method will enable the study of SD in multiple types of quantum emitters such as solid-state defects or organic lead halide perovskite quantum dots, for which spectral instability is a critical barrier for applications in quantum sensing.