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Synthesis and band gap engineering in Ge₁-x-ySixSny Materials for Near-IR Wavelength Applications

Description

This thesis describes the fabrication of several new classes of Ge1-x-ySixSny materials with the required compositions and crystal quality to engineer the band gaps above and below that of elemental Ge (0.8 eV) in the near IR. The work initially

This thesis describes the fabrication of several new classes of Ge1-x-ySixSny materials with the required compositions and crystal quality to engineer the band gaps above and below that of elemental Ge (0.8 eV) in the near IR. The work initially focused on Ge1-x-ySixSny (1-5% Sn, 4-20% Si) materials grown on Ge(100) via gas-source epitaxy of Ge4H10, Si4H10 and SnD4. Both intrinsic and doped layers were produced with defect-free microstructure and viable thickness, allowing the fabrication of high-performance photodetectors. These exhibited low ideality factors, state-of-the-art dark current densities and adjustable absorption edges between 0.87 and 1.03 eV, indicating that the band gaps span a significant range above that of Ge. Next Sn-rich Ge1-x-ySixSny alloys (2-4% Si and 4-10% Sn) were fabricated directly on Si and were found to show significant optical emission using photoluminescence measurements, indicating that the alloys have direct band gaps below that of pure Ge in the range of 0.7-0.55 eV. A series of Sn-rich Ge1-x-ySixSny analogues (y>x) with fixed 3-4% Si content and progressively increasing Sn content in the 4-10% range were then grown on Ge buffered Si platforms for the purpose of improving the material's crystal quality. The films in this case exhibited lower defect densities than those grown on Si, allowing a meaningful study of both the direct and indirect gaps. The results show that the separation of the direct and indirect edges can be made smaller than in Ge even for non-negligible 3-4% Si content, confirming that with a suitable choice of Sn compositions the ternary Ge1-x-ySixSny reproduces all features of the electronic structure of binary Ge1-ySny, including the sought-after indirect-to-direct gap cross over. The above synthesis of optical quality Ge1-x-ySixSny on virtual Ge was made possible by the development of high quality Ge-on-Si buffers via chemical vapor deposition of Ge4H10. The resultant films exhibited structural and electrical properties significantly improved relative to state-of-the-art results obtained using conventional approaches. It was found that pure Ge4H10 facilitates the control of residual doping and enables p-i-n devices whose dark currents are not entirely determined by defects and whose zero-bias collection efficiencies are higher than those obtained from samples fabricated using alternative Ge-on-Si approaches.

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2013

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Epitaxy of group IV optical materials and synthesis of IV/III-V semiconductor analogs by designer hydride chemistries

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The thesis studies new methods to fabricate optoelectronic Ge1-ySny/Si(100) alloys and investigate their photoluminescence (PL) properties for possible applications in Si-based photonics including IR lasers. The work initially investigated the origin of the difference between the PL spectrum of bulk

The thesis studies new methods to fabricate optoelectronic Ge1-ySny/Si(100) alloys and investigate their photoluminescence (PL) properties for possible applications in Si-based photonics including IR lasers. The work initially investigated the origin of the difference between the PL spectrum of bulk Ge, dominated by indirect gap emission, and the PL spectrum of Ge-on-Si films, dominated by direct gap emission. It was found that the difference is due to the supression of self-absorption effects in Ge films, combined with a deviation from quasi-equilibrium conditions in the conduction band of undoped films. The latter is confirmed by a model suggesting that the deviation is caused by the shorter recombination lifetime in the films relative to bulk Ge. The knowledge acquired from this work was then utilized to study the PL properties of n-type Ge1-ySny/Si (y=0.004-0.04) samples grown via chemical vapor deposition of Ge2H6/SnD4/P(GeH3)3. It was found that the emission intensity (I) of these samples is at least 10x stronger than observed in un-doped counterparts and that the Idir/Iind ratio of direct over indirect gap emission increases for high-Sn contents due to the reduced gamma-L valley separation, as expected. Next the PL investigation was expanded to samples with y=0.05-0.09 grown via a new method using the more reactive Ge3H8 in place of Ge2H6. Optical quality, 1-um thick Ge1-ySny/Si(100) layers were produced using Ge3H10/SnD4 and found to exhibit strong, tunable PL near the threshold of the direct-indirect bandgap crossover. A byproduct of this study was the development of an enhanced process to produce Ge3H8, Ge4H10, and Ge5H12 analogs for application in ultra-low temperature deposition of Group-IV semiconductors. The thesis also studies synthesis routes of an entirely new class of semiconductor compounds and alloys described by Si5-2y(III-V)y (III=Al, V= As, P) comprising of specifically designed diamond-like structures based on a Si parent lattice incorporating isolated III-V units. The common theme of the two thesis topics is the development of new mono-crystalline materials on ubiquitous silicon platforms with the objective of enhancing the optoelectronic performance of Si and Ge semiconductors, potentially leading to the design of next generation optical devices including lasers, detectors and solar cells.

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2013

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Novel anhydrous superprotonic ionic liquids and membranes for application in mid-temperature fuel cells

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This thesis studies three different types of anhydrous proton conducting electrolytes for use in fuel cells. The proton energy level scheme is used to make the first electrolyte which is a rubbery polymer in which the conductivity reaches values typical

This thesis studies three different types of anhydrous proton conducting electrolytes for use in fuel cells. The proton energy level scheme is used to make the first electrolyte which is a rubbery polymer in which the conductivity reaches values typical of activated Nafion, even though it is completely anhydrous. The protons are introduced into a cross-linked polyphospazene rubber by the superacid HOTf, which is absorbed by partial protonation of the backbone nitrogens. The decoupling of conductivity from segmental relaxation times assessed by comparison with conductivity relaxation times amounts to some 10 orders of magnitude, but it cannot be concluded whether it is purely protonic or due equally to a mobile OTf- or H(OTf)2-; component. The second electrolyte is built on the success of phosphoric acid as a fuel cell electrolyte, by designing a variant of the molecular acid that has increased temperature range without sacrifice of high temperature conductivity or open circuit voltage. The success is achieved by introduction of a hybrid component, based on silicon coordination of phosphate groups, which prevents decomposition or water loss to 250ºC, while enhancing free proton motion. Conductivity studies are reported to 285ºC and full H2/O2 cell polarization curves to 226ºC. The current efficiency reported here (current density per unit of fuel supplied per sec) is the highest on record. A power density of 184 (mW.cm-2) is achieved at 226ºC with hydrogen flow rate of 4.1 ml/minute. The third electrolyte is a novel type of ionic liquids which is made by addition of a super strong Brønsted acid to a super weak Brønsted base. Here it is shown that by allowing the proton of transient HAlCl4, to relocate on a very weak base that is also stable to superacids, we can create an anhydrous ionic liquid, itself a superacid, in which the proton is so loosely bound that at least 50% of the electrical conductivity is due to the motion of free protons. The protic ionic liquids (PILs) described, pentafluoropyridinium tetrachloroaluminate and 5-chloro-2,4,6-trifluoropyrimidinium tetrachloroaluminate, might be the forerunner of a class of materials in which the proton plasma state can be approached.

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2013

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Mechanistic studies of one-electron reduced bipyridine reactions relevant to carbon dioxide sequestration

Description

Increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will inevitably lead to long-term changes in climate that can have serious consequences. Controlling anthropogenic emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, however, represents a significant technological challenge. Various chemical approaches have

Increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will inevitably lead to long-term changes in climate that can have serious consequences. Controlling anthropogenic emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, however, represents a significant technological challenge. Various chemical approaches have been suggested, perhaps the most promising of these is based on electrochemical trapping of carbon dioxide using pyridine and derivatives. Optimization of this process requires a detailed understanding of the mechanisms of the reactions of reduced pyridines with carbon dioxide, which are not currently well known. This thesis describes a detailed mechanistic study of the nucleophilic and Bronsted basic properties of the radical anion of bipyridine as a model pyridine derivative, formed by one-electron reduction, with particular emphasis on the reactions with carbon dioxide. A time-resolved spectroscopic method was used to characterize the key intermediates and determine the kinetics of the reactions of the radical anion and its protonated radical form. Using a pulsed nanosecond laser, the bipyridine radical anion could be generated in-situ in less than 100 ns, which allows fast reactions to be monitored in real time. The bipyridine radical anion was found to be a very powerful one-electron donor, Bronsted base and nucleophile. It reacts by addition to the C=O bonds of ketones with a bimolecular rate constant around 1* 107 M-1 s-1. These are among the fastest nucleophilic additions that have been reported in literature. Temperature dependence studies demonstrate very low activation energies and large Arrhenius pre-exponential parameters, consistent with very high reactivity. The kinetics of E2 elimination, where the radical anion acts as a base, and SN2 substitution, where the radical anion acts as a nucleophile, are also characterized by large bimolecular rate constants in the range ca. 106 - 107 M-1 s-1. The pKa of the bipyridine radical anion was measured using a kinetic method and analysis of the data using a Marcus theory model for proton transfer. The bipyridine radical anion is found to have a pKa of 40±5 in DMSO. The reorganization energy for the proton transfer reaction was found to be 70±5 kJ/mol. The bipyridine radical anion was found to react very rapidly with carbon dioxide, with a bimolecular rate constant of 1* 108 M-1 s-1 and a small activation energy, whereas the protonated radical reacted with carbon dioxide with a rate constant that was too small to measure. The kinetic and thermodynamic data obtained in this work can be used to understand the mechanisms of the reactions of pyridines with carbon dioxide under reducing conditions.

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2015

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Novel transparent composite electrodes and mixed oxide layers for improved flexible electronics

Description

Transparent conductive oxides (TCO) comprise a class of materials that exhibit unique combination of high transparency in the visible region along with high electrical conductivity. TCOs play an important role as transparent electrodes for optoelectronic devices such as solar cell

Transparent conductive oxides (TCO) comprise a class of materials that exhibit unique combination of high transparency in the visible region along with high electrical conductivity. TCOs play an important role as transparent electrodes for optoelectronic devices such as solar cell panels, liquid crystal displays, transparent heat mirrors and organic light emitting devices (OLED). The most commonly used transparent electrodes in optoelectronic applications is indium tin oxide (ITO) due to its low resistivity (~ 10−4 Ω-cm) and high transmittance (~ 80 %). However, the limited supply of indium and the growing demand for ITO make the resulting fabrication costs prohibitive for future industry. Thus, cost factors have promoted the search for inexpensive materials with good electric-optical properties.

The object of this work is to study the structure-property-processing relationship and optimize a suitable transparent electrode with the intent to optimize them for flexible optoelectronics applications. The work focuses on improved processing of the mixed oxide (indium gallium zinc oxide, IGZO) thin films for superior optical and electrical properties. The study focuses on two different methods of post-deposition annealing-microwave and conventional. The microwave annealing was seen to have the dual advantage of reduced time and lower temperature, as compared to conventional annealing. Another work focuses on an indium free transparent composite electrode (TCE) where a very thin metal layer is inserted between the two TCO layers. A novel Nb2O5/Ag/Nb2O5 multilayered structure can exhibit better electrical and optical properties than a single layered TCO thin film. The focus for low cost alternative leads to a TiO2/metal/TiO2 based TCE. A systematic study was done to understand the effect of metal thickness and substituting different metals (Ag, Cu or Au) on the opto-electrical properties of the TCEs. The TiO2/Ag/TiO2 with mid Ag thickness 9.5 nm has been optimized to have a sheet resistance of 5.7 Ohm/sq. average optical transmittance of 90 % at 550 nm and figure of merit with 61.4 ×10-3 Ω-1. The TCEs showed improved optical and electrical properties when annealed in forming gas and vacuum. These dielectric/metal/dielectric multilayer TCEs have lower total thickness and are more efficient than a single-layer ITO film.

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2015

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Epitaxial development of advanced group IV materials and high performance optical devices for applications in Si-photonics and photovoltaics

Description

Group IV alloy films exhibit the ability to tune both band structure and lattice parameters and have recently attracted attention for their potential applications in Si-photonics and photovoltaics. In this work, several new approaches to produce these alloys directly on

Group IV alloy films exhibit the ability to tune both band structure and lattice parameters and have recently attracted attention for their potential applications in Si-photonics and photovoltaics. In this work, several new approaches to produce these alloys directly on Si(100) and Ge(100) wafers are developed. For photovoltaics, use of Ge-buffered Si(100) wafers as a low cost platform for epitaxy of In1-xGaxAs layers was explored. The results indicate that this approach has promise for transitioning from bulk Ge platforms to virtual substrates for a significant cost reduction. The electrical and optical properties of Ge and Ge1-ySny layers produced using several different techniques were explored via fabrication of high performance heterostructure photodiodes. First, a new CVD approach to Ge-like materials was developed in which germanium is alloyed with very small amounts of tin. These alloys exhibited no significant difference in their structural properties or band gap compared to pure Ge, however superior photo response and reduced dark currents were observed from fabricated devices relative to pure Ge on Si reference diodes. Additionally, pure Ge/Si(100) photodiodes were fabricated using layers grown via reactions of Ge4H10 on Si(100) and found to exhibit low dark current densities with high collection efficiencies. Ge1-x-ySixSny materials represent the newest member of group IV alloy family. The ability to decouple the lattice constant and the band gap in this system has led to strong interest both for strain/confinement layers in quantum well structures, and as the possible "missing" 1 eV junction in multijunction photovoltaics. Recent progress in this field has allowed for the first time growth, fabrication and measurement of novel photodiodes based on Ge1-x-ySixSny. This work presents the material, electrical and optical properties of Ge1-x-ySixSny layers and photodiodes grown directly on Ge and Si wafers using two different synthetic approaches. A series of photodiodes containing Sn concentrations from 1-5%, all lattice matched to Ge, was fabricated. The devices exhibited low dark current densities with high collection efficiencies as required for photovoltaics. By measuring the photoresponse, tunable band gaps ranging from 0.85 eV to 1.02 eV were observed.

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2012

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Indoor air quality investigations on particulate matter, carbonyls, and tobacco specific nitrosamines

Description

Americans spend upwards of 90% of their time indoors, hence indoor air quality (IAQ) and the impact of IAQ on human health is a major public health concern. IAQ can be negatively impacted by outdoor pollution infiltrating indoors, the emission

Americans spend upwards of 90% of their time indoors, hence indoor air quality (IAQ) and the impact of IAQ on human health is a major public health concern. IAQ can be negatively impacted by outdoor pollution infiltrating indoors, the emission of indoor pollutants, indoor atmospheric chemistry and poor ventilation. Energy saving measures like retrofits to seal the building envelope to prevent the leakage of heated or cooled air will impact IAQ. However, existing studies have been inconclusive as to whether increased energy efficiency is leading to detrimental IAQ. In this work, field campaigns were conducted in apartment homes in Phoenix, Arizona to evaluate IAQ as it relates to particulate matter (PM), carbonyls, and tobacco specific nitrosamines (TSNA).

To investigate the impacts of an energy efficiency retrofit on IAQ, indoor and outdoor air quality sampling was carried out at Sunnyslope Manor, a city-subsidized senior living apartment complex. Measured indoor formaldehyde levels before the building retrofit exceeded reference exposure limits, but in the long term follow-up sampling, indoor formaldehyde decreased for the entire study population by a statistically significant margin. Indoor PM levels were dominated by fine particles and showed a statistically significant decrease in the long term follow-up sampling within certain resident subpopulations (i.e. residents who reported smoking and residents who had lived longer at the apartment complex). Additionally, indoor glyoxal and methylglyoxal exceeded outdoor concentrations, with methylglyoxal being more prevalent pre-retrofit than glyoxal, suggesting different chemical pathways are involved. Indoor concentrations reported are larger than previous studies. TSNAs, specifically N'-nitrosonornicotine (NNN), 4-(methyl-nitrosamino)-4-(3-pyridyl)-butanal (NNA) and 4-(methylnitrosoamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK) were evaluated post-retrofit at Sunnyslope Manor. Of the units tested, 86% of the smoking units and 46% of the non-smoking units had traces of at least one of the nitrosamines.

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2014

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Molecular polarizability as a descriptor for molecular conductance

Description

We studied the relationship between the polarizability and the molecular conductance

that arises in the response of a molecule to an external electric field. To illustrate

the plausibility of the idea, we used Simmons' tunneling model, which describes image

charge and dielectric effects

We studied the relationship between the polarizability and the molecular conductance

that arises in the response of a molecule to an external electric field. To illustrate

the plausibility of the idea, we used Simmons' tunneling model, which describes image

charge and dielectric effects on electron transport through a barrier. In such a

model, the barrier height depends on the dielectric constant of the electrode-molecule-electrode junction, which in turn can be approximately expressed in terms of the

molecular polarizability via the classical Clausius-Mossotti relation. In addition to

using the tunneling model, the validity of the relationships between the molecular

polarizability and the molecular conductance was tested by comparing calculated

and experimentally measured conductance of different chemical structures ranging

from covalent bonded to non-covalent bonded systems. We found that either using

the tunneling model or the first-principle calculated quantities or experimental data,

the conductance decreases as the molecular polarizability increases. In contrast to

this strong correlation, our results showed that in some cases there was a weaker or

none correlation between the conductance and other molecular electronic properties

including HOMO-LUMO gap, chemical geometries, and interactions energies. All

these results together suggest that using the molecular polarizability as a molecular

descriptor for conductance can offer some advantages compared to using other

molecular electronic properties and can give additional insight about the electronic

transport property of a junction.

These results also show the validity of the physically intuitive picture that to a first

approximation a molecule in a junction behaves as a dielectric that is polarized in the

opposite sense of the applied bias, thereby creating an interfacial barrier that hampers

tunneling. The use of the polarizability as a descriptor of molecular conductance offers

signicant conceptual and practical advantages over a picture based in molecular

orbitals. Despite the simplicity of our model, it sheds light on a hitherto neglected

connection between molecular polarizability and conductance and paves the way for

further conceptual and theoretical developments.

The results of this work was sent to two publications. One of them was accepted

in the International Journal of Nanotechnology (IJNT) and the other is still under

review in the Journal of Physical Chemistry C.

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2014

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A computational and theoretical study of conductance in hydrogen-bonded molecular junctions

Description

This thesis is devoted to the theoretical and computational study of electron transport in molecular junctions where one or more hydrogen bonds are involved in the process. While electron transport through covalent bonds has been extensively studied, in recent work

This thesis is devoted to the theoretical and computational study of electron transport in molecular junctions where one or more hydrogen bonds are involved in the process. While electron transport through covalent bonds has been extensively studied, in recent work the focus has been shifted towards hydrogen-bonded systems due to their ubiquitous presence in biological systems and their potential in forming nano- junctions between molecular electronic devices and biological systems.

This analysis allows us to significantly expand our comprehension of the experimentally observed result that the inclusion of hydrogen bonding in a molecular junc- tion significantly impacts its transport properties, a fact that has important implications for our understanding of transport through DNA, and nano-biological interfaces in general. In part of this work I have explored the implications of quasiresonant transport in short chains of weakly-bonded molecular junctions involving hydrogen bonds. I used theoretical and computational analysis to interpret recent experiments and explain the role of Fano resonances in the transmission properties of the junction.

In a different direction, I have undertaken the study of the transversal conduction through nucleotide chains that involve a variable number of different hydrogen bonds, e.g. NH···O, OH···O, and NH···N, which are the three most prevalent hydrogen bonds in biological systems and organic electronics. My effort here has fo- cused on the analysis of electronic descriptors that allow a simplified conceptual and computational understanding of transport properties. Specifically, I have expanded our previous work where the molecular polarizability was used as a conductance de- scriptor to include the possibility of atomic and bond partitions of the molecular polarizability. This is important because it affords an alternative molecular descrip- tion of conductance that is not based on the conventional view of molecular orbitals as transport channels. My findings suggest that the hydrogen-bond networks are crucial in understanding the conductance of these junctions.

A broader impact of this work pertains the fact that characterizing transport through hydrogen bonding networks may help in developing faster and cost-effective approaches to personalized medicine, to advance DNA sequencing and implantable electronics, and to progress in the design and application of new drugs.

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Date Created
2017

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Chemical vapor deposition of metastable germanium based semiconductors for optoelectronic applications

Description

Optoelectronic and microelectronic applications of germanium-based materials have received considerable research interest in recent years. A novel method for Ge on Si heteroepitaxy required for such applications was developed via molecular epitaxy of Ge5H12. Next, As(GeH3)3, As(SiH3)3, SbD3, S(GeH3)2 and

Optoelectronic and microelectronic applications of germanium-based materials have received considerable research interest in recent years. A novel method for Ge on Si heteroepitaxy required for such applications was developed via molecular epitaxy of Ge5H12. Next, As(GeH3)3, As(SiH3)3, SbD3, S(GeH3)2 and S(SiH3)2 molecular sources were utilized in degenerate n-type doping of Ge. The epitaxial Ge films produced in this work incorporate donor atoms at concentrations above the thermodynamic equilibrium limits. The donors are nearly fully activated, and led to films with lowest resistivity values thus far reported.

Band engineering of Ge was achieved by alloying with Sn. Epitaxy of the alloy layers was conducted on virtual Ge substrates, and made use of the germanium hydrides Ge2H6 and Ge3H8, and the Sn source SnD4. These films exhibit stronger emission than equivalent material deposited directly on Si, and the contributions from the direct and indirect edges can be separated. The indirect-direct crossover composition for Ge1-ySny alloys was determined by photoluminescence (PL). By n-type doping of the Ge1-ySny alloys via P(GeH3)3, P(SiH3)3 and As(SiH3)3, it was possible to enhance photoexcited emission by more than an order-of-magnitude.

The above techniques for deposition of direct gap Ge1-ySny alloys and doping of Ge were combined with p-type doping methods for Ge1-ySny using B2H6 to fabricate pin heterostructure diodes with active layer compositions up to y=0.137. These represent the first direct gap light emitting diodes made from group IV materials. The effect of the single defected n-i¬ interface in a n-Ge/i-Ge1-ySny/p-Ge1-zSnz architecture on electroluminescence (EL) was studied. This led to lattice engineering of the n-type contact layer to produce diodes of n-Ge1-xSnx/i-Ge1-ySny/p-Ge1-zSnz architecture which are devoid of interface defects and therefore exhibit more efficient EL than the previous design. Finally, n-Ge1-ySny/p-Ge1-zSnz pn junction devices were synthesized with varying composition and doping parameters to investigate the effect of these properties on EL.

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2016