Exploring extreme particle density and size for blue photoluminescence from as-deposited amorphous Si-in-SiNx films

Cheng Liu; Chaorong Li; Ailing Ji; Libo Ma; Yongqian Wang; Zexian Cao
May 2005
Applied Physics Letters;5/30/2005, Vol. 86 Issue 22, p223111
Academic Journal
The number density of silicon particles in a silicon compound matrix that are smaller than 3.0 nm is subject to a few restrictive factors. We report the growth of amorphous Si-in-SiNx thin films containing small particles (down to 2.2 nm) of a density over 1.4×1013/cm2, as determined from transmission electron microscopic graphs. Intense blue photoluminescence centered at 440 nm could be measured in such as-deposited films, and the external quantum efficiency was estimated to be at the 0.1–1.0 % level by comparing against that from a high-quality GaN sample. Rapid annealing for two minutes at 500 °C induced only slight enhancement of photoluminescence intensity. Further effort to increase the particle density led to particle conglomeration, and continued reduction of particle size endangers the survival of nanoparticles in matrix material. Clues for a more realistic mechanism are discussed based on the correlation of photoluminescence features to the microstructure of the films.


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