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Silicon Nanocrystals in Liquid Media: Optical Properties and Surface Stabilization by Microplasma-Induced Non-Equilibrium Liquid Chemistry

Authors

  • Davide Mariotti,

    Corresponding author
    1. Nanotechnology & Integrated Bio-Engineering Centre (NIBEC), University of Ulster, Newtownabbey, BT37 0QB, UK
    • Nanotechnology & Integrated Bio-Engineering Centre (NIBEC), University of Ulster, Newtownabbey, BT37 0QB, UK.
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  • Vladimir Švrček,

    1. Research Center for Photovoltaic Technologies, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Tsukuba, 305-8568, Japan
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  • Jeremy W. J. Hamilton,

    1. Nanotechnology & Integrated Bio-Engineering Centre (NIBEC), University of Ulster, Newtownabbey, BT37 0QB, UK
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  • Michael Schmidt,

    1. Electron Microscopy and Analysis Facility, Materials Chemistry and Analysis Group, Tyndall National Institute, University College Cork, Lee Maltings, Cork, Ireland
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  • Michio Kondo

    1. Research Center for Photovoltaic Technologies, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Tsukuba, 305-8568, Japan
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Abstract

Surface engineering of silicon nanocrystals directly in water or ethanol by atmospheric-pressure dc microplasma is reported. In both liquids, microplasma processing stabilizes the optoelectronic properties of silicon nanocrystals. The microplasma treatment induces non-equilibrium liquid chemistry that passivates the silicon nanocrystals surface with oxygen-/organic-based terminations. In particular, the microplasma treatment in ethanol drastically enhances the silicon nanocrystals photoluminescence intensity and causes a clear red-shift (≈80 nm) of the photoluminescence maximum. The photoluminescence properties are stable after several days of storage in either ethanol or water. The surface chemistry induced by the microplasma treatment is analyzed and discussed.

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