Opto-structural studies of well-dispersed silicon nano-crystals grown by atom beam sputtering
1 Inter University Accelerator Centre, P.O. Box 10502, Aruna Asaf Ali Marg, New Delhi, 110 067, India
2 Department of Physics, Bareilly College, Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh, 243005, India
Nanoscale Research Letters 2012, 7:547 doi:10.1186/1556-276X-7-547Published: 3 October 2012
Synthesis and characterization of nano-crystalline silicon grown by atom beam sputtering technique are reported. Rapid thermal annealing of the deposited films is carried out in Ar + 5% H2 atmosphere for 5 min at different temperatures for precipitation of silicon nano-crystals. The samples are characterized for their optical and structural properties using various techniques. Structural studies are carried out by micro-Raman spectroscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), high resolution transmission electron microscopy, and selected area electron diffraction. The optical properties are studied by photoluminescence and UV-vis absorption spectroscopy, and bandgaps are evaluated. The bandgaps are found to decrease after rapid thermal treatment. The micro-Raman studies show the formation of nano-crystalline silicon in as-deposited as well as annealed films. The shifting and broadening in Raman peak suggest formation of nano-phase in the samples. Results of micro-Raman, photoluminescence, and TEM studies suggest the presence of a bimodal crystallite size distribution for the films annealed at higher temperatures. The results show that atom beam sputtering is a suitable technique to synthesize nearly mono-dispersed silicon nano-crystals. The size of the nano-crystals may be controlled by varying annealing parameters.