Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Probing dopant distribution

05.05.2014

The icing on the cake for semiconductor nanocrystals that provide a non-damped optoelectronic effect may exist as a layer of tin that segregates near the surface.

One method of altering the electrical properties of a semiconductor is by introducing impurities called dopants. A team led by Delia Milliron, a chemist at Berkeley Lab’s Molecular Foundry, a U.S Department of Energy (DOE) national nanoscience center, has demonstrated that equally important as the amount of dopant is how the dopant is distributed on the surface and throughout the material.


Schematic representation of plasmonic nanocrystals with (a) uniform and (b) surface-segregated dopant distributions. In (a), most of the electron cloud is scattered from ionized impurities (green); in (b), most of the electron cloud is oscillating away from the impurities.

This opens the door for engineering the distribution of the dopant in order to control what wavelength the material will absorb and more generally how light interacts with the nanocrystals.

“Doping in semiconductor nanocrystals is still an evolving art,” says Milliron. “Only in the last few years have people begun to observe interesting optical properties as a result of introducing dopants to these materials, but how the dopants are distributed within the nanocrystals remains largely unknown. What sites they occupy and where they are situated throughout the material greatly influences optical properties.”

Milliron’s most recent claim to fame, a “smart window” technology that not only blocks natural infrared (IR) radiation while allowing the passage of visible light through transparent coated glass, but also allows for independent control over both kinds of radiation, relies on a doped semiconductor called indium tin oxide (ITO).

ITO, in which tin (the dopant) has replaced some of the indium ions in indium oxide (the semiconductor), has become the prototypical doped semiconductor nanocrystal material.  It is used in all kinds of electronic devices, including touchscreens displays, smart windows and solar cells.

“The exciting thing about this class of materials is that the dopants are able to introduce free electrons that form at high density within the material, which makes them conducting and thus useful as transparent conductors,” says Milliron

But the same electrons cause the materials to be plasmonic in the IR part of the spectrum. This means that light of IR wavelength can be resonant with free electrons in the material: the oscillating electric fields in the light resonate and can cause absorption.

“[These materials] can absorb IR light in a way that’s tunable by adjusting the doping, while still being transparent to natural visible light. A tunable amount of absorption of IR light allows you to control heating.  For us, that’s the driving application,” explains Milliron.

Until now, adjustments have been made by changing the amount of dopant in the semiconductor. Puzzled by studies in which optical properties did not behave as expected, Milliron and University of California (UC) Berkeley PhD candidate Sebastien Lounis looked to x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy to probe electrons near the surface of the ITO samples and investigate the distribution of elements within the samples at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL).

The SSRL uses a tuneable beam of photons to excite electrons inside the material. If the electrons are close enough to the surface, they can sometimes be emitted and collected by a detector. These electrons provide information about the properties of the material, including the ratio of the amounts of different elements like indium and tin in ITO. Increasing the energy of the x-ray beam shows how the composition of tin and indium changes as one moves deeper into the sample. Ultimately, the spectroscopy technique allowed Milliron and her team to probe the doping distribution as a function of distance from the nanocrystals’ surface.

Studies of two sets of samples allowed them to correlated tin distribution with optical properties, and showed that the shape and wavelength of plasmon absorption depended on tin distribution. The tin segregated on the surface showed reduced activation of dopants and symmetric plasmon resonances, with no damping caused by the dopants.

“When the tin sits near the surface, it interacts only weakly with the majority of the free electrons,” explains Lounis. “This gives us the benefits of doping without some of drawbacks.”

“Now that we know how to probe, we can go after targeted design features for particular applications,” concludes Milliron. Deliberate placement of dopants by design provides a new tool for “dialing in plasmonic materials to do exactly what we want in terms of interaction with light.”

A paper on this research has been accepted for publication in the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS) in April 2014. The paper is titled “The influence of dopant distribution on the plasmonic properties of indium tin oxide nanocrystals” with Lounis as the lead author and Milliron as the corresponding author. Other authors are Evan Runnerstorm, Amy Bergerud, and Dennis Nordlund.

This research was primarily supported by the DOE Office of Science.

Rachel Berkowitz | Eurek Alert!

Further reports about: ITO Laboratory Probing SSRL dopants electrons explains indium materials nanocrystals natural properties ratio spectroscopy spectrum wavelength

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht One Step Closer to a Single-Molecule Device
28.05.2015 | Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science

nachricht Researchers develop intelligent handheld robots
27.05.2015 | University of Bristol

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Lasers are the key to mastering challenges in lightweight construction

Many joining and cutting processes are possible only with lasers. New technologies make it possible to manufacture metal components with hollow structures that are significantly lighter and yet just as stable as solid components. In addition, lasers can be used to combine various lightweight construction materials and steels with each other. The Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen is presenting a range of such solutions at the LASER World of Photonics trade fair from June 22 to 25, 2015 in Munich, Germany, (Hall A3, Stand 121).

Lightweight construction materials are popular: aluminum is used in the bodywork of cars, for example, and aircraft fuselages already consist in large part of...

Im Focus: Solid-state photonics goes extreme ultraviolet

Using ultrashort laser pulses, scientists in Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics have demonstrated the emission of extreme ultraviolet radiation from thin dielectric films and have investigated the underlying mechanisms.

In 1961, only shortly after the invention of the first laser, scientists exposed silicon dioxide crystals (also known as quartz) to an intense ruby laser to...

Im Focus: Advance in regenerative medicine

The only professorship in Germany to date, one master's programme, one laboratory with worldwide unique equipment and the corresponding research results: The University of Würzburg is leading in the field of biofabrication.

Paul Dalton is presently the only professor of biofabrication in Germany. About a year ago, the Australian researcher relocated to the Würzburg department for...

Im Focus: Basel Physicists Develop Efficient Method of Signal Transmission from Nanocomponents

Physicists have developed an innovative method that could enable the efficient use of nanocomponents in electronic circuits. To achieve this, they have developed a layout in which a nanocomponent is connected to two electrical conductors, which uncouple the electrical signal in a highly efficient manner. The scientists at the Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel have published their results in the scientific journal “Nature Communications” together with their colleagues from ETH Zurich.

Electronic components are becoming smaller and smaller. Components measuring just a few nanometers – the size of around ten atoms – are already being produced...

Im Focus: IoT-based Advanced Automobile Parking Navigation System

Development and implementation of an advanced automobile parking navigation platform for parking services

To fulfill the requirements of the industry, PolyU researchers developed the Advanced Automobile Parking Navigation Platform, which includes smart devices,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International symposium: trends in spatial analysis and modelling for a more sustainable land use

20.05.2015 | Event News

15th conference of the International Association of Colloid and Interface Scientists

18.05.2015 | Event News

EHFG 2015: Securing health in Europe. Balancing priorities, sharing responsibilities

12.05.2015 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quasi-sexual gene transfer drives genetic diversity of hot spring bacteria

29.05.2015 | Life Sciences

First Eastern Pacific tropical depression runs ahead of dawn

29.05.2015 | Earth Sciences

Donuts, math, and superdense teleportation of quantum information

29.05.2015 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>