Interfacial effects on the optical behavior of Ge: ITO and Ge:ZnO nanocomposite films

Grace H. Shih, Cary G. Allen, Barrett G Potter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Nanophase semiconductors are of interest for their unique, size-tunable solar spectral absorption characteristics as well as their potential to contribute to the improved energy conversion efficiency of photovoltaics (PV). Embedding these nanoparticles within electrically active transparent conductive oxides (TCO) can also provide an opportunity for enhanced, long-range carrier transport. However, differences in the atomic and electronic structure, dielectric behavior, and chemistry between the matrix and semiconductor phases highlight the influence of interfacial effects on the optical absorption properties of the composite. In this work, nanocomposites of Ge:indium tin oxide (Ge:ITO) and Ge:ZnO were fabricated with sequential RF-magnetron sputtering and annealed at temperatures from 310 to 550°C to investigate the impact of matrix identity on this interface and its contribution to nanostructure-mediated optical absorption. Transmission electron microscopy showed a decrease in Ge nanocrystal size relative to the initial semiconductor domain size in both matrices that was correlated with an increase in absorption onset energy after annealing. The effect was particularly pronounced in Ge:ITO composites in which Raman spectroscopy indicated the presence of germanium oxide at the semiconductorITO interface. These results support the primary contribution of carrier confinement in the Ge nanophase to the shifts in absorption onset energies observed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number075203
JournalNanotechnology
Volume23
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 24 2012

Fingerprint

Nanocomposite films
Semiconductor materials
Tin oxides
Indium
Light absorption
Germanium oxides
Crystal atomic structure
Carrier transport
Composite materials
Energy conversion
Magnetron sputtering
Nanocrystals
Oxides
Conversion efficiency
Electronic structure
Raman spectroscopy
Nanostructures
Nanocomposites
Annealing
Nanoparticles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Materials Science(all)

Cite this

Interfacial effects on the optical behavior of Ge : ITO and Ge:ZnO nanocomposite films. / Shih, Grace H.; Allen, Cary G.; Potter, Barrett G.

In: Nanotechnology, Vol. 23, No. 7, 075203, 24.02.2012.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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