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Published January 2016 | public
Journal Article

Polarization Control of Morphological Pattern Orientation During Light-Mediated Synthesis of Nanostructured Se–Te Films


The template-free growth of well ordered, highly anisotropic lamellar structures has been demonstrated during the photoelectrodeposition of Se–Te films, wherein the orientation of the pattern can be directed by orienting the linear polarization of the incident light. This control mechanism was investigated further herein by examining the morphologies of films grown photoelectrochemically using light from two simultaneous sources that had mutually different linear polarizations. Photoelectrochemical growth with light from two nonorthogonally polarized same-wavelength sources generated lamellar morphologies in which the long axes of the lamellae were oriented parallel to the intensity-weighted average polarization orientation. Simulations of light scattering at the solution–film interface were consistent with this observation. Computer modeling of these growths using combined full-wave electromagnetic and Monte Carlo growth simulations successfully reproduced the experimental morphologies and quantitatively agreed with the pattern orientations observed experimentally by considering only the fundamental light-material interactions during growth. Deposition with light from two orthogonally polarized same-wavelength as well as different-wavelength sources produced structures that consisted of two intersecting sets of orthogonally oriented lamellae in which the relative heights of the two sets could be varied by adjusting the relative source intensities. Simulations of light absorption were performed in analogous, idealized intersecting lamellar structures and revealed that the lamellae preferentially absorbed light polarized with the electric field vector along their long axes. These data sets cumulatively indicate that anisotropic light scattering and light absorption generated by the light polarization produces the anisotropic morphology and that the resultant morphology is a function of all illumination inputs despite differing polarizations.

Additional Information

© 2015 American Chemical Society. Received: August 17, 2015; Accepted: November 22, 2015; Publication Date (Web): November 23, 2015. This work was supported by the "Light-Material Interactions in Energy Conversion" Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences under Award Number DE-SC0001293. The authors gratefully acknowledge R. Gerhart for assistance with photoelectrochemical cell fabrication. A.I.C. recognizes a Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation for support. A.P. recognizes an Edward W. Hughes Research Fellowship from the California Institute of Technology for support. The authors declare no competing financial interest.

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