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Band-Gap Deformation Potential and Elasticity Limit of Semiconductor Free-Standing Nanorods Characterized in Situ by Scanning Electron Microscope–Cathodoluminescence Nanospectroscopy

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journal contribution
posted on 24.03.2015, 00:00 by Kentaro Watanabe, Takahiro Nagata, Yutaka Wakayama, Takashi Sekiguchi, Róbert Erdélyi, János Volk
Modern field-effect transistors or laser diodes take advantages of band-edge structures engineered by large uniaxial strain εzz, available up to an elasticity limit at a rate of band-gap deformation potential azz (= dEg/dεzz). However, contrary to aP values under hydrostatic pressure, there is no quantitative consensus on azz values under uniaxial tensile, compressive, and bending stress. This makes band-edge engineering inefficient. Here we propose SEM–cathodoluminescence nanospectroscopy under in situ nanomanipulation (Nanoprobe-CL). An apex of a c-axis-oriented free-standing ZnO nanorod (NR) is deflected by point-loading of bending stress, where local uniaxial strain (εcc = r/R) and its gradient across a NR (dεcc/dr = R–1) are controlled by a NR local curvature (R–1). The NR elasticity limit is evaluated sequentially (εcc = 0.04) from SEM observation of a NR bending deformation cycle. An electron beam is focused on several spots crossing a bent NR, and at each spot the local Eg is evaluated from near-band-edge CL emission energy. Uniaxial acc (= dEg/dεcc) is evaluated at regulated surface depth, and the impact of R–1 on observed acc is investigated. The acc converges with −1.7 eV to the R–1 = 0 limit, whereas it quenches with increasing R–1, which is attributed to free-exciton drift under transversal band-gap gradient. Surface-sensitive CL measurements suggest that a discrepancy from bulk acc = −4 eV may originate from strain relaxation at the side surface under uniaxial stress. The nanoprobe-CL technique reveals an Egij) response to specific strain tensor εij (i, j = x, y, z) and strain-gradient effects on a minority carrier population, enabling simulations and strain-dependent measurements of nanodevices with various structures.