Si-rich Al2O3 films grown by RF magnetron sputtering: structural and photoluminescence properties versus annealing treatment
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Nanoscale Research Letters 2013, 8:273 doi:10.1186/1556-276X-8-273Published: 7 June 2013
Silicon-rich Al2O3 films (Six(Al2O3)1−x) were co-sputtered from two separate silicon and alumina targets onto a long silicon oxide substrate. The effects of different annealing treatments on the structure and light emission of the films versus x were investigated by means of spectroscopic ellipsometry, X-ray diffraction, micro-Raman scattering, and micro-photoluminescence (PL) methods. The formation of amorphous Si clusters upon the deposition process was found for the films with x ≥ 0.38. The annealing treatment of the films at 1,050°C to 1,150°C results in formation of Si nanocrystallites (Si-ncs). It was observed that their size depends on the type of this treatment. The conventional annealing at 1,150°C for 30 min of the samples with x = 0.5 to 0.68 leads to the formation of Si-ncs with the mean size of about 14 nm, whereas rapid thermal annealing of similar samples at 1,050°C for 1 min showed the presence of Si-ncs with sizes of about 5 nm. Two main broad PL bands were observed in the 500- to 900-nm spectral range with peak positions at 575 to 600 nm and 700 to 750 nm accompanied by near-infrared tail. The low-temperature measurement revealed that the intensity of the main PL band did not change with cooling contrary to the behavior expected for quantum confined Si-ncs. Based on the analysis of PL spectrum, it is supposed that the near-infrared PL component originates from the exciton recombination in the Si-ncs. However, the most intense emission in the visible spectral range is due to either defects in matrix or electron states at the Si-nc/matrix interface.