Off-axis electron holography (EH) has been used to characterize electrostatic potential, active dopant concentrations and charge distribution in semiconductor nanostructures, including ZnO nanowires (NWs) and thin films, ZnTe thin films, Si NWs with axial p-n junctions, Si-Ge axial heterojunction NWs, and Ge/LixGe core/shell NW.
The mean inner potential (MIP) and inelastic mean free path (IMFP) of ZnO NWs have been measured to be 15.3V±0.2V and 55±3nm, respectively, for 200keV electrons. These values were then used to characterize the thickness of a ZnO nano-sheet and gave consistent values. The MIP and IMFP for ZnTe thin films were measured to be 13.7±0.6V and 46±2nm, respectively, for 200keV electrons. A thin film expected to have a p-n junction was studied, but no signal due to the junction was observed. The importance of dynamical effects was systematically studied using Bloch wave simulations.
The built-in potentials in Si NWs across the doped p-n junction and the Schottky junction due to Au catalyst were measured to be 1.0±0.3V and 0.5±0.3V, respectively. Simulations indicated that the dopant concentrations were ~1019cm-3 for donors and ~1017 cm-3 for acceptors. The effects of positively charged Au catalyst, a possible n+-n--p junction transition region and possible surface charge, were also systematically studied using simulations.
Si-Ge heterojunction NWs were studied. Dopant concentrations were extracted by atom probe tomography. The built-in potential offset was measured to be 0.4±0.2V, with the Ge side lower. Comparisons with simulations indicated that Ga present in the Si region was only partially activated. In situ EH biasing experiments combined with simulations indicated the B dopant in Ge was mostly activated but not the P dopant in Si. I-V characteristic curves were measured and explained using simulations.
The Ge/LixGe core/shell structure was studied during lithiation. The MIP for LixGe decreased with time due to increased Li content. A model was proposed to explain the lower measured Ge potential, and the trapped electron density in Ge core was calculated to be 3×1018 electrons/cm3. The Li amount during lithiation was also calculated using MIP and volume ratio, indicating that it was lower than the fully lithiated phase.