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Determination of electrostatic potential and charge distribution of semiconductor nanostructures using off-axis electron holography

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The research of this dissertation involved quantitative characterization of electrostatic potential and charge distribution of semiconductor nanostructures using off-axis electron holography, as well as other electron microscopy techniques. The investigated

The research of this dissertation involved quantitative characterization of electrostatic potential and charge distribution of semiconductor nanostructures using off-axis electron holography, as well as other electron microscopy techniques. The investigated nanostructures included Ge quantum dots, Ge/Si core/shell nanowires, and polytype heterostructures in ZnSe nanobelts. Hole densities were calculated for the first two systems, and the spontaneous polarization for wurtzite ZnSe was determined. Epitaxial Ge quantum dots (QDs) embedded in boron-doped silicon were studied. Reconstructed phase images showed extra phase shifts near the base of the QDs, which was attributed to hole accumulation in these regions. The resulting charge density was (0.03±0.003) holes
m3, which corresponded to about 30 holes localized to a pyramidal, 25-nm-wide Ge QD. This value was in reasonable agreement with the average number of holes confined to each Ge dot determined using a capacitance-voltage measurement. Hole accumulation in Ge/Si core/shell nanowires was observed and quantified using off-axis electron holography and other electron microscopy techniques. High-angle annular-dark-field scanning transmission electron microscopy images and electron holograms were obtained from specific nanowires. The intensities of the former were utilized to calculate the projected thicknesses for both the Ge core and the Si shell. The excess phase shifts measured by electron holography across the nanowires indicated the presence of holes inside the Ge cores. The hole density in the core regions was calculated to be (0.4±0.2)
m3 based on a simplified coaxial cylindrical model. Homogeneous zincblende/wurtzite heterostructure junctions in ZnSe nanobelts were studied. The observed electrostatic fields and charge accumulation were attributed to spontaneous polarization present in the wurtzite regions since the contributions from piezoelectric polarization were shown to be insignificant based on geometric phase analysis. The spontaneous polarization for the wurtzite ZnSe was calculated to be psp = -(0.0029±0.00013) C/m2, whereas a first principles' calculation gave psp = -0.0063 C/m2. The atomic arrangements and polarity continuity at the zincblende/wurtzite interface were determined through aberration-corrected high-angle annular-dark-field imaging, which revealed no polarity reversal across the interface. Overall, the successful outcomes of these studies confirmed the capability of off-axis electron holography to provide quantitative electrostatic information for nanostructured materials.

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  • 2011

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Growth of novel semiconducting nano and heterostructures

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This dissertation presents research findings on the three materials systems: lateral Si nanowires (SiNW), In2Se3/Bi2Se3 heterostructures and graphene. The first part of the thesis was focused on the growth and

This dissertation presents research findings on the three materials systems: lateral Si nanowires (SiNW), In2Se3/Bi2Se3 heterostructures and graphene. The first part of the thesis was focused on the growth and characterization of lateral SiNW. Lateral here refers to wires growing along the plane of substrate; vertical NW on the other hand grow out of the plane of substrate. It was found, using the Au-seeded vapor – liquid – solid technique, that epitaxial single-crystal SiNW can be grown laterally along Si(111) substrates that have been miscut toward [11− 2]. The ratio of lateral-to-vertical NW was found to increase as the miscut angle increased and as disilane pressure and substrate temperature decreased. Based on this observation, growth parameters were identified whereby all of the deposited Au seeds formed lateral NW. Furthermore, the nanofaceted substrate guided the growth via a mechanism that involved pinning of the trijunction at the liquid/solid interface of the growing nanowire.

Next, the growth of selenide heterostructures was explored. Specifically, molecular beam epitaxy was utilized to grow In2Se3 and Bi2Se3 films on h-BN, highly oriented pyrolytic graphite and Si(111) substrates. Growth optimizations of In2Se3 and Bi2Se3 films were carried out by systematically varying the growth parameters. While the growth of these films was demonstrated on h-BN and HOPG surface, the majority of the effort was focused on growth on Si(111). Atomically flat terraces that extended laterally for several hundred nm, which were separated by single quintuple layer high steps characterized surface of the best In2Se3 films grown on Si(111). These In2Se3 films were suitable for subsequent high quality epitaxy of Bi2Se3 .

The last part of this dissertation was focused on a recently initiated and ongoing study of graphene growth on liquid metal surfaces. The initial part of the study comprised a successful modification of an existing growth system to accommodate graphene synthesis and process development for reproducible graphene growth. Graphene was grown on Cu, Au and AuCu alloys at varioua conditions. Preliminary results showed triangular features on the liquid part of the Cu metal surface. For Au, and AuCu alloys, hexagonal features were noticed both on the solid and liquid parts.

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Date Created
  • 2014

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Characterization of electrostatic potential and trapped charge in semiconductor nanostructures using off-axis electron holography

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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,

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.

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Date Created
  • 2015