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Published February 2005 | public
Journal Article

Field-effect electroluminescence in silicon nanocrystals


There is currently worldwide interest in developing silicon-based active optical components in order to leverage the infrastructure of silicon microelectronics technology for the fabrication of optoelectronic devices. Light emission in bulk silicon-based devices is constrained in wavelength to infrared emission, and in efficiency by the indirect bandgap of silicon. One promising strategy for overcoming these challenges is to make use of quantum-confined excitonic emission in silicon nanocrystals. A critical challenge for silicon nanocrystal devices based on nanocrystals embedded in silicon dioxide has been the development of a method for efficient electrical carrier injection. We report here a scheme for electrically pumping dense silicon nanocrystal arrays by a field-effect electroluminescence mechanism. In this excitation process, electrons and holes are both injected from the same semiconductor channel across a tunnelling barrier in a sequential programming process, in contrast to simultaneous carrier injection in conventional pn-junction light-emitting-diode structures. Light emission is strongly correlated with the injection of a second carrier into a nanocrystal that has been previously programmed with a charge of the opposite sign.

Additional Information

© 2005 Nature Publishing Group. Received 10 September 2004; Accepted 2 December 2004; Published 23 January 2005. This work was supported by Intel Corporation and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (#FA9550-04-1-0434). R.J.W. acknowledges National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship support through the Army Research Office.

Additional details

August 19, 2023
October 23, 2023