Indexed on: 23 Sep '14Published on: 23 Sep '14Published in: Nano Letters
Carrier multiplication (CM), the creation of electron-hole pairs from an excited electron, has been investigated in a silicon p-n junction by multiple probe scanning tunneling microscopy. The technique enables an unambiguous determination of the quantum yield based on the direct measurement of both electron and hole currents that are generated by hot tunneling electrons. The combined effect of impact ionization, carrier diffusion, and recombination is directly visualized from the spatial mapping of the CM efficiency. Atomically well-ordered areas of the p-n junction surface sustain the highest CM rate, demonstrating the key role of the surface in reaching high yield.