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Plasmonic Properties of Silicon Nanocrystals Doped with Boron and Phosphorus

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journal contribution
posted on 12.08.2015, 00:00 by Nicolaas J. Kramer, Katelyn S. Schramke, Uwe R. Kortshagen
Degenerately doped silicon nanocrystals are appealing plasmonic materials due to silicon’s low cost and low toxicity. While surface plasmonic resonances of boron-doped and phosphorus-doped silicon nanocrystals were recently observed, there currently is poor understanding of the effect of surface conditions on their plasmonic behavior. Here, we demonstrate that phosphorus-doped silicon nanocrystals exhibit a plasmon resonance immediately after their synthesis but may lose their plasmonic response with oxidation. In contrast, boron-doped nanocrystals initially do not exhibit plasmonic response but become plasmonically active through postsynthesis oxidation or annealing. We interpret these results in terms of substitutional doping being the dominant doping mechanism for phosphorus-doped silicon nanocrystals, with oxidation-induced defects trapping free electrons. The behavior of boron-doped silicon nanocrystals is more consistent with a strong contribution of surface doping. Importantly, boron-doped silicon nanocrystals exhibit air-stable plasmonic behavior over periods of more than a year.