Chemical insight into the origin of red and blue photoluminescence arising from freestanding silicon nanocrystals

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DOIResolve DOI: http://doi.org/10.1021/nn4000644
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TypeArticle
Journal titleACS Nano
ISSN1936-0851
Volume7
Issue3
Pages26762685; # of pages: 10
Subjectsilicon nanocrystals; photoluminescence; surface functionalization; nitrogen
AbstractSilicon nanocrystals (Si NCs) are attractive functional materials. They are compatible with standard electronics and communications platforms and are biocompatible. Numerous methods have been developed to realize size-controlled Si NC synthesis. While these procedures produce Si NCs that appear identical, their optical responses can differ dramatically. Si NCs prepared using high-temperature methods routinely exhibit photoluminescence agreeing with the effective mass approximation (EMA), while those prepared via solution methods exhibit blue emission that is somewhat independent of particle size. Despite many proposals, a definitive explanation for this difference has been elusive for no less than a decade. This apparent dichotomy brings into question our understanding of Si NC properties and potentially limits the scope of their application. The present contribution takes a substantial step forward toward identifying the origin of the blue emission that is not expected based upon EMA predictions. It describes a detailed comparison of Si NCs obtained from three of the most widely cited procedures as well as the conversion of red-emitting Si NCs to blue emitters upon exposure to nitrogen-containing reagents. Analysis of the evidence is consistent with the hypothesis that the presence of trace nitrogen and oxygen even at the parts per million level in Si NCs gives rise to the blue emission.
Publication date
LanguageEnglish
AffiliationNational Research Council Canada (NRC-CNRC); Security and Disruptive Technologies
Peer reviewedYes
NPARC number21270522
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Record identifier99345083-e7c6-4cb7-b50c-c878f5515c4c
Record created2014-02-14
Record modified2016-05-09
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