Effects of water adsorption and surface oxidation on the electrical conductivity of silicon nanocrystal films

Neema Rastgar, David J. Rowe, Rebecca J. Anthony, Brian A. Merritt, Uwe R. Kortshagen, Eray Aydil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Electrical conductivities of thin films of silicon nanocrystals (4-6 nm) exhibit high sensitivity to water vapor. Specifically, water adsorption on the surface of silicon nanocrystals films increases their electrical conductivity by a factor of 4 at room temperature and an order of magnitude at 175 K. The increase in conductivity is reversible and can manifest as peaks or hysteresis loops in temperature-dependent conductivity measurements even when the measurements are conducted under vacuum at 10-5 Torr and in the presence of only residual amounts of water vapor. Hydrogen-terminated silicon nanocrystals are easily oxidized to form submonolayer to a monolayer of chemically bound oxygen on their surfaces when annealed at 300 °C in a glovebox with 0.1 ppm of water vapor. Annealing under vacuum at 300 °C retains H-passivation without oxidation. The electrical conductivity of films made from hydrogen-terminated silicon nanocrystals is 200 times higher than the electrical conductivity of films made from silicon nanocrystals with a monolayer of chemically bound oxygen. However, the conductivities of both types of films increase upon adsorption of water on the nanocrystal surfaces. These findings underscore the importance of controlling silicon nanocrystal surfaces in determining the electrical properties of their thin films.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4211-4218
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry C
Volume117
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 11 2013

Fingerprint

Silicon
Nanocrystals
nanocrystals
Adsorption
Oxidation
oxidation
electrical resistivity
adsorption
Water
silicon
Steam
water
Water vapor
water vapor
conductivity
Hydrogen
Monolayers
gloveboxes
Vacuum
Oxygen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Energy(all)

Cite this

Effects of water adsorption and surface oxidation on the electrical conductivity of silicon nanocrystal films. / Rastgar, Neema; Rowe, David J.; Anthony, Rebecca J.; Merritt, Brian A.; Kortshagen, Uwe R.; Aydil, Eray.

In: Journal of Physical Chemistry C, Vol. 117, No. 8, 11.03.2013, p. 4211-4218.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Rastgar, Neema ; Rowe, David J. ; Anthony, Rebecca J. ; Merritt, Brian A. ; Kortshagen, Uwe R. ; Aydil, Eray. / Effects of water adsorption and surface oxidation on the electrical conductivity of silicon nanocrystal films. In: Journal of Physical Chemistry C. 2013 ; Vol. 117, No. 8. pp. 4211-4218.
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