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Continuously Controlled Optical Band Gap in Oxide Semiconductor Thin Films

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journal contribution
posted on 02.02.2016 by Andreas Herklotz, Stefania Florina Rus, Thomas Zac Ward
The optical band gap of the prototypical semiconducting oxide SnO2 is shown to be continuously controlled through single axis lattice expansion of nanometric films induced by low-energy helium implantation. While traditional epitaxy-induced strain results in Poisson driven multidirectional lattice changes shown to only allow discrete increases in bandgap, we find that a downward shift in the band gap can be linearly dictated as a function of out-of-plane lattice expansion. Our experimental observations closely match density functional theory that demonstrates that uniaxial strain provides a fundamentally different effect on the band structure than traditional epitaxy-induced multiaxes strain effects. Charge density calculations further support these findings and provide evidence that uniaxial strain can be used to drive orbital hybridization inaccessible with traditional strain engineering techniques.