Two sources of room temperature visible luminescence are identified from SiO2 films containing ion beam synthesized Si nanocrystals. From a comparison of luminescence spectra and photoluminescence decay lifetime measurements between Xe+-implanted SiO2 films and SiO2 films containing Si nanocrystals, a luminescence feature attributable to defects in the SiO2 matrix is unambiguously identified. Hydrogen passivation of the films selectively quenches the matrix defect luminescence, after which luminescence attributable to Si nanocrystals is evident, with a lifetime on the order of milliseconds. The peak energy of the remaining luminescence attributable to Si nanocrystals 'redshifts' as a function of different processing parameters that might lead to increased nanocrystal size and the intensity is directly correlated to the formation of Si nanocrystals. Upon further annealing hydrogen-passivated samples at low temperatures (<500 °C), the intensity of nanocrystal luminescence increases by more than a factor of 10.

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Journal Appl. Phys. Lett.
Citation
Min, K.S, Shcheglov, K.V, Yang, C.M, Atwater, H.A, Brongersma, M.L, & Polman, A. (1996). Defect-related versus excitonic visible light emission from ion beam synthesized Si nanocrystals in SiO2. Appl. Phys. Lett., 69, 2033–2035.