Near-IR photoluminescence from Si/Ge nanowire grown silicon wafers: effect of HF treatment

Research paper by Seref Kalem, Peter Werner, Vadim Talalaev

Indexed on: 25 Dec '15Published on: 25 Dec '15Published in: Physics - Mesoscopic Systems and Quantum Hall Effect


We present the room temperature (RT) near-infrared (NIR) photoluminescence (PL) properties of Si/Ge nanowire (NW) grown silicon wafers which were treated by vapor of HF:HNO3 chemical mixture. This treatment activates or enhances the PL intensity at NIR region ranging from 1000 nm to 1800 nm. The PL consists of a silicon band-edge emission and a broad composite band which was centered at around 1400-1600 nm. The treatment modifies the wafer surface particularly at defect sites particularly pits around NWs and NW surfaces by etching and oxidation of Si and Ge. This process can induce spatial confinement of carriers where band-to-band (BB) emission is the dominant property in Si capped strained Si/Ge NW grown wafers. Strong signals were observed at sub-band gap energies in Ge capped Si/Ge NW grown wafers. It was found that NIR PL is a competitive property between the Si BB transition and deep-level emission which is mainly attributable to Si related defects, Ge dots and strained Ge layers. The enhancement in BB and deep-level PL was discussed in terms of strain, oxygen related defects, dots formation and carrier confinement effects. The results demonstrate the effectiveness of this method in enhancing and tuning NIR PL properties for possible applications.