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Size-dependent visible absorption and fast photoluminescence decay dynamics from freestanding strained silicon nanocrystals

Soumen Dhara1 and PK Giri12*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Physics, Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, Guwahati-781039, India

2 Centre for Nanotechnology, Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, Guwahati-781039, India

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2011, 6:320  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-6-320

Published: 11 April 2011


In this article, we report on the visible absorption, photoluminescence (PL), and fast PL decay dynamics from freestanding Si nanocrystals (NCs) that are anisotropically strained. Direct evidence of strain-induced dislocations is shown from high-resolution transmission electron microscopy images. Si NCs with sizes in the range of approximately 5-40 nm show size-dependent visible absorption in the range of 575-722 nm, while NCs of average size <10 nm exhibit strong PL emission at 580-585 nm. The PL decay shows an exponential decay in the nanosecond time scale. The Raman scattering studies show non-monotonic shift of the TO phonon modes as a function of size because of competing effect of strain and phonon confinement. Our studies rule out the influence of defects in the PL emission, and we propose that owing to the combined effect of strain and quantum confinement, the strained Si NCs exhibit direct band gap-like behavior.