Fabrication and characterization of nanocrystalline silicon LEDs : a study of the influence of annealing
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This thesis describes the fabrication of a set of bright, visible light-emitting silicon LEDs. These devices were fabricated in-house at the University of Saskatchewan using a custom plasma ion implantation tool, an annealing furnace, and a physical vapour deposition system. A high-fluence (F = 4 × 1015 cm^−2) implantation of molecular hydrogen ions extracted from an RF inductively coupled plasma at an energy of 5 keV was used to create a heavily damaged region in the silicon centered approximately 40 nm below the silicon surface with a width of approximately 56 nm. A matrix of annealing (e.g. thermal processing) processes at 400 ºC and 700 ºC and different durations (30 minutes and 2 hours) as well as an aluminum gettering procedure were tested with the goal of increasing the output electroluminescence intensity. Current-voltage characterization was used to extract information about the defect-rich nanocrystalline, light-emitting layer as well as the Schottky barrier height. This enabled comparison of these new devices with previous silicon LEDs based on porous silicon and other approaches. The processes which were used to fabricate these devices are compatible with standard CMOS processing techniques and could provide one solution to the problem of optical interconnect on multi-core chips. The scientific significance of this work is the demonstration of bright, visible light emission at mean photon energies ∼1.84 eV corresponding to a photon wavelength of λ ≈ 675 nm. This is remarkable given that ordinary crystalline silicon is an indirect bandgap material with a bandgap energy of 1.1 eV, in which band-to-band radiative recombination is forbidden by momentum conservation. The devices fabricated in this thesis have light emission properties similar to previous silicon LEDs based on nanocrystalline or nanoporous silicon. They have the advantage of being easily electrically driven. The nanocrystalline region which is the source of the light emission was nucleated from the ion-implanted layer below the surface of the silicon. This makes these devices mechanically robust and insensitive to environmental conditions. The engineering significance of this work is the production of CMOS compatible light emitters. This study demonstrated increased light emission efficiency at higher annealing temperatures which is likely due to enhanced diffusion and nucleation of silicon nanocrystals in the ion-implant damaged layer.
DegreeMaster of Science (M.Sc.)
DepartmentPhysics and Engineering Physics
SupervisorBradley, Michael P.
CommitteeGhezelbash, Masoud; Moewes, Alex
Copyright DateJuly 2014
plasma ion implant