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Photoluminescence Study of Erbium-Mixed Alkylated Silicon Nanocrystals

Authors: Khamael M. Abualnaja, Lidija Šiller, Benjamin R. Horrocks


Alkylated silicon nanocrystals (C11-SiNCs) were prepared successfully by galvanostatic etching of p-Si(100) wafers followed by a thermal hydrosilation reaction of 1-undecene in refluxing toluene in order to extract C11-SiNCs from porous silicon. Erbium trichloride was added to alkylated SiNCs using a simple mixing chemical route. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first investigation on mixing SiNCs with erbium ions (III) by this chemical method. The chemical characterization of C11-SiNCs and their mixtures with Er3+(Er/C11-SiNCs) were carried out using X-ray photoemission spectroscopy (XPS). The optical properties of C11- SiNCs and their mixtures with Er3+ were investigated using Raman spectroscopy and photoluminescence (PL). The erbium mixed alkylated SiNCs shows an orange PL emission peak at around 595 nm that originates from radiative recombination of Si. Er/C11-SiNCs mixture also exhibits a weak PL emission peak at 1536 nm that originates from the intra-4f transition in erbium ions (Er3+). The PL peak of Si in Er/C11-SiNCs mixture is increased in the intensity up to three times as compared to pure C11-SiNCs. The collected data suggest that this chemical mixing route leads instead to a transfer of energy from erbium ions to alkylated SiNCs.

Keywords: Raman spectroscopy, Photoluminescence, silicon nanocrystals, erbium

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