Applied Surface Science, Vol.469, 870-878, 2019
Enhanced photoconductivity of SiGe nanocrystals in SiO2 driven by mild annealing
Photosensitive films based on finely dispersed semiconductor nanocrystals (NCs) in dielectric films have great potential for sensor applications. Here we report on preparation and characterization of photosensitive Si1-xGex NCs sandwiched between SiO2 matrix. A radio-frequency magnetron sputtering was applied to obtain a multilayer-structures (MLs) by depositing SiO2/SiGe/SiO2 films on Si (0 0 1) substrate. The Si1-xGex NCs were formed by a post-deposition annealing at 100-700 degrees C for 1-5 min. The effect of annealing temperature and time on MLs morphology and NCs size and density was studied using grazing incidence X-ray diffraction, transmission electron microscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy and measurements of spectral distribution of photocurrent. It is demonstrated how the photoconductive properties of the MLs can be enhanced and tailored by controlling the NCs formation conditions and the presence of stress field in MLs and defects acting as traps and recombination centers. All these features can be adjusted/controlled by altering the annealing conditions (temperature and time). The MLs photosensitivity was increased of more than an order of magnitude by the annealing process. A mechanism, where a competition between crystallization process (NCs formation and evolution i.e. size and shapes) and stress field appearance determines the peak position in the photocurrent spectra, was identified.