Researchers at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) have detected an alternative way to emit light from silicon nanocrystals that was hitherto thought to be impossible. The results were published on 28 Novermber in an Advance Online Publication of Nature Nanotechnology. The form of light emission from silicon nanocrystals which has now been discovered is a thousand times higher than that from silicon itself. A light source based on silicon could therefore still be possible, according to the researchers.
The entire field of microelectronics is based on silicon, an element found in large quantities on earth. There is, however, one thing that silicon can not do well: emit light. Therefore, lasers and LEDs are made from rare and therefore more expensive elements, and there are no functioning optoelectronic applications of silicon. This will probably change as a result of the research conducted by UvA scientists Wietse de Boer, Dolf Timmerman, Katerina Dohnalová, Tom Gregorkiewicz (all from the Van der Waals-Zeeman Institute) and Wybren Jan Buma (Van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences) and scientists from the Ioffe Physico-Technical Institute in St. Petersburg in Russia.
Publication detailsW. de Boer, D. Timmerman, K. Dohnalová, I. Yassievich, H. Zhang, W. J. Buma and T. Gregorkiewicz: Red spectral shift and enhanced quantum efficiency in phonon-free photoluminescence from silicon nanocrystals. Advance Online Publication, Nature Nanotechnology, 28 november 2010.