Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Henry C. Kapteyn

Second Advisor

David M. Jonas

Third Advisor

Scott Diddams

Fourth Advisor

Chuck Rogers

Fifth Advisor

Steve Cundiff


Colloidal semiconductor nanocrystals exhibit unique properties not seen in their bulk counterparts. Quantum confinement of carriers causes a size-tunable bandgap, making them attractive candidates for solar cells. Fundamental understanding of their spectra and carrier dynamics is obscured by inhomogeneous broadening arising from the size distribution. Because quantum dots have long excited state lifetimes and are sensitive to both air and moisture, there are many potential artifacts in femtosecond experiments. Two-dimensional electronic spectroscopy promises insight into the photo-physics, but required key instrumental advances. Optics that can process a broad bandwidth without distortion are required for a two-dimensional optical spectrometer. To control pathlength differences for femtosecond time delays, hollow retro-reflectors are used on actively stabilized delay lines in interferometers. The fabrication of rigid, lightweight, precision hollow rooftop retroreflectors that allow beams to be stacked while preserving polarization is described. The rigidity and low mass enable active stabilization of an interferometer to within 0.6 nm rms displacement, while the return beam deviation is sufficient for Fourier transform spectroscopy with a frequency precision of better than 1 cm-1. Keeping samples oxygen and moisture free while providing fresh sample between laser shots is challenging in an interferometer. A low-vibration spinning sample cell was designed and built to keep samples oxygen free for days while allowing active stabilization of interferometer displacement to ~1 nm. Combining these technologies has enabled 2D short-wave infrared spectroscopy on colloidal PbSe nanocrystals. 2D spectra demonstrate the advantages of this key instrumentation while providing valuable insight into the low-lying electronic states of colloidal quantum dots.