Near-IR Emitting Si nanocrystals fabricated by thermal annealing of SiNx/Si3N4 Multilayers

D. M. Zhigunov, A. A. Popov, Yu M. Chesnokov, A. L. Vasiliev, A. M. Lebedev, I. A. Subbotin, S. N. Yakunin, O. A. Shalygina, I. A. Kamenskikh

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Silicon nanocrystals in silicon nitride matrix are fabricated by thermal annealing of SiNx/Si3N4 multilayered thin films, and characterized by transmission electron microscopy, X-ray reflectivity and diffraction analysis, photoluminescence and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy techniques. Si nanocrystals with a mean size of about 4 nm are obtained, and their properties are studied as a function of SiNx layer thickness (1.6-2 nm) and annealing temperature (900-1250 °C). The effect of coalescence of adjacent nanocrystals throughout the Si3N4 barrier layers is observed, which results in formation of distinct ellipsoidal-shaped nanocrystals. Complete intermixing of multilayered film accompanied by an increase of nanocrystal mean size for annealing temperature as high as 1250 °C is shown. Near-IR photoluminescence with the peak at around 1.3-1.4 eV is detected and associated with quantum confined excitons in Si nanocrystals: Photoluminescence maximum is red shifted upon an increase of nanocrystal mean size, while the measured decay time is of order of microsecond. The position of photoluminescence peak as compared to the one for Si nanocrystals in SiO2 matrix is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4725
JournalApplied Sciences (Switzerland)
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019


  • Nanocrystals
  • Photoluminescence
  • Silicon
  • Superlattice
  • X-ray diffraction
  • XPS


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