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Concept: Semiconductors


Cu2O p-type semiconductor hollow porous microspheres have been prepared by using a simple soft-template method at room temperature. The morphology of as-synthesized samples is hollow spherical structures with the diameter ranging from 200 to 500 nm, and the surfaces of the spheres are rough, porous and with lots of channels and folds. The photocatalytic activity of degradation of methyl orange (MO) under visible light irradiation was investigated by UV-visible spectroscopy. The results show that the hollow porous Cu2O particles were uniform in diameters and have an excellent ability in visible light-induced degradation of MO. Meanwhile, the growth mechanism of the prepared Cu2O was also analyzed. We find that sodium dodecyl sulfate acted the role of soft templates in the synthesis process. The hollow porous structure was not only sensitive to the soft template but also to the amount of reagents.

Concepts: Spectroscopy, Light, Electromagnetic radiation, Semiconductor, Visible spectrum, Semiconductors, P-type semiconductor, N-type semiconductor


In this study, we investigate the effect of annealing and nitrogen amount on electronic transport properties in n- and p-type-doped Ga0.68In0.32NyAs1 - y/GaAs quantum well (QW) structures with y = 0%, 0.9%, 1.2%, 1.7%. The samples are thermal annealed at 700°C for 60 and 600 s, and Hall effect measurements have been performed between 10 and 300 K. Drastic decrease is observed in the electron mobility of n-type N-containing samples due to the possible N-induced scattering mechanisms and increasing effect mass of the alloy. The temperature dependence of electron mobility has an almost temperature insensitive characteristic, whereas for p-type samples hole mobility is decreased drastically at T > 120 K. As N concentration is increased, the hole mobility also increased as a reason of decreasing lattice mismatch. Screening effect of N-related alloy scattering over phonon scattering in n-type samples may be the reason of the temperature-insensitive electron mobility. At low temperature regime, hole mobility is higher than electron mobility by a factor of 3 to 4. However, at high temperatures (T > 120 K), the mobility of p-type samples is restricted by the scattering of the optical phonons. Because the valance band discontinuity is smaller compared to the conduction band, thermionic transport of holes from QW to the barrier material, GaAs, also contributes to the mobility at high temperatures that results in a decrease in mobility. The hole mobility results of as-grown samples do not show a systematic behavior, while annealed samples do, depending on N concentration. Thermal annealing does not show a significant improvement of electron mobility.

Concepts: Quantum mechanics, Condensed matter physics, Semiconductor, Gas, Phonon, Semiconductors, 2DEG, Electron hole


Due to their wide band gaps, III-N materials can exhibit behaviors ranging from the semiconductor class to the dielectric class. Through an analogy between a Metal/AlGaN/AlN/GaN diode and a MOS contact, we make use of this dual nature and show a direct path to capture the energy band diagram of the nitride system. We then apply transparency calculations to describe the forward conduction regime of a III-N heterojunction diode and demonstrate it realizes a tunnel diode, in contrast to its regular Schottky Barrier Diode designation. Thermionic emission is ruled out and instead, a coherent electron tunneling scenario allows to account for transport at room temperature and higher.

Concepts: Semiconductor, Diode, Band gap, Semiconductors, Field electron emission, P-n junction, Schottky barrier, Schottky diode


We report the fluorination of electrically insulating hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) and the subsequent modification of its electronic band structure to a wide bandgap semiconductor via introduction of defect levels. The electrophilic nature of fluorine causes changes in the charge distribution around neighboring nitrogen atoms in h-BN, leading to room temperature weak ferromagnetism. The observations are further supported by theoretical calculations considering various possible configurations of fluorinated h-BN structure and their energy states. This unconventional magnetic semiconductor material could spur studies of stable two-dimensional magnetic semiconductors. Although the high thermal and chemical stability of h-BN have found a variety of uses, this chemical functionalization approach expands its functionality to electronic and magnetic devices.

Concepts: Electron, Fundamental physics concepts, Semiconductor, Electronic band structure, Band gap, Semiconductors, Valence band, Boron nitride


Photoelectrochemical (PEC) water splitting to produce solar fuel (hydrogen) has long been considered as the Holy Grail to a carbon-free hydrogen economy. The PEC concept to produce solar fuel is to emulate the natural photosynthesis using man made materials. The bottle-neck in realising the concept practically has been the difficulty in identifying stable low-cost semiconductors that meet the thermodynamic and kinetic criteria for photoelectrolysis. We have fabricated a novel p-type LaFeO3photoelectrode using an inexpensive and scalable spray pyrolysis method. Our nanostructured LaFeO3photoelectrode results in spontaneous hydrogen evolution from water without any external bias applied. Moreover, the photoelectrode has a faradaic efficiency of 30% and showed excellent stability over 21 hours. From optical and impedance data, the constructed band diagram showed that LaFeO3can straddle the water redox potential with the conduction band at -1.11 V above the reduction potential of hydrogen. We have fabricated a low cost LaFeO3photoelectrode that can spontaneously produce hydrogen from water using sunlight, making it a strong future candidate for renewable hydrogen generation.

Concepts: Energy, Hydrogen, Redox, Electrochemistry, Electrolysis, Semiconductors, Water splitting, Holy Grail


In a continuous search for the energy-efficient electronic switches, a great attention is focused on tunnel field-effect transistors (TFETs) demonstrating an abrupt dependence of the source-drain current on the gate voltage. Among all TFETs, those based on one-dimensional (1D) semiconductors exhibit the steepest current switching due to the singular density of states near the band edges, though the current in 1D structures is pretty low. In this paper, we propose a TFET based on 2D graphene bilayer which demonstrates a record steep subthreshold slope enabled by van Hove singularities in the density of states near the edges of conduction and valence bands. Our simulations show the accessibility of 3.5 × 10(4) ON/OFF current ratio with 150 mV gate voltage swing, and a maximum subthreshold slope of (20 μV/dec)(-1) just above the threshold. The high ON-state current of 0.8 mA/μm is enabled by a narrow (~0.3 eV) extrinsic band gap, while the smallness of the leakage current is due to an all-electrical doping of the source and drain contacts which suppresses the band tailing and trap-assisted tunneling.

Concepts: Condensed matter physics, Semiconductor, Transistor, Electronic band structure, Band gap, Semiconductors, Valence band, The Band


In polymeric semiconductors, charge carriers are polarons, which means that the excess charge deforms the molecular structure of the polymer chain that hosts it. This results in distinctive signatures in the vibrational modes of the polymer. Here, we probe polaron photogeneration dynamics at polymer:fullerene heterojunctions by monitoring its time-resolved resonance-Raman spectrum following ultrafast photoexcitation. We conclude that polarons emerge within 300 fs. Surprisingly, further structural evolution on ≲50-ps timescales is modest, indicating that the polymer conformation hosting nascent polarons is not significantly different from that near equilibrium. We interpret this as suggestive that charges are free from their mutual Coulomb potential because we would expect rich vibrational dynamics associated with charge-pair relaxation. We address current debates on the photocarrier generation mechanism at molecular heterojunctions, and our work is, to our knowledge, the first direct probe of molecular conformation dynamics during this fundamentally important process in these materials.

Concepts: DNA, Electron, Electric charge, Chemical bond, Polymer, Nuclear magnetic resonance, Semiconductors, Polyanhydrides


Upon 20% Te substitution, the band gap decreases from 0.8 eV to 0.65 eV. Rising temperature promotes minority carrier jumps across the band gap, thereby improving electrical conductivity. With low thermal conductivity and large Seebeck coefficients, a remarkable ZT of 0.71 at 873 K is achieved for BiCuSe0.94Te0.06O.

Concepts: Condensed matter physics, Temperature, Heat, Semiconductor, Thermal conductivity, Electrical conductivity, Music, Semiconductors


MoS2 and related metal dichalcogenides (MoSe2, WS2, WSe2) are layered two-dimensional materials that are promising for nanoelectronics and spintronics. For instance, large spin-orbit coupling and spin splitting in the valence band of single layer (SL) MoS2 could lead to enhanced spin lifetimes and large spin Hall angles. Understanding the nature of the contacts is a critical first step for realizing spin injection and spin transport in MoS2. Here, we have investigated Co contacts to SL MoS2 and find that the Schottky barrier height can be significantly decreased with the addition of a thin oxide barrier (MgO). Further, we show that the barrier height can be reduced to zero by tuning the carrier density with back gate. Therefore, the MgO could simultaneously provide a tunnel barrier to alleviate conductance mismatch while minimizing carrier depletion near the contacts. Such control over the barrier height should allow for careful engineering of the contacts to realize spin injection in these materials.

Concepts: Electron, Condensed matter physics, Semiconductor, Diode, Semiconductors, Spintronics, OSI model, Schottky barrier


Recent studies of II-VI group colloidal semiconductor heterostuctures, such as CdSe/CdS core/shell quantum dots (QDs) or dot-in-rod nanorods, show that type II and quasi-type II band alignment can facilitate electron transfer and slow down charge recombination in QD-molecular electron acceptor complexes. To explore the general applicability of this wave function engineering approach for controlling charge transfer properties, we investigate exciton relaxation and dissociation dynamics in InP (a III-V group semiconductor) and InP/CdS core/shell (a heterostructure beween III-V and II-VI group semiconductors) QDs by transient absorption spectroscopy. We show that InP/CdS QDs exhibit a quasi-type II band alignment with the 1S electron delocalized throughout the core and shell and the 1S hole confined in the InP core. In InP-methylviologen (MV2+) complexes, excitons in the QD can be dissociated by ultrafast electron transfer to MV2+ from the 1S electron level (with a average time constant of 11.4 ps) as well as 1P and higher electron level (with a time constant of 0.39 ps), which is followed by charge recombination to regenerate the complex in its ground state (with an average time constant of 47.1 ns). In comparison, InP/CdS MV2+ complexes shows similar ultrafast charge separation and 5 fold slower charge recombination rates, consistent with the quasi-type II band alignment in these heterostructures. This result demonstrates that wave function engineering in nanoheterostructures of III-V and II-VI group semiconductors provides a promising approach for optimizing their light harvesting and charge properties for solar energy conversion applications.

Concepts: Electron, Quantum mechanics, Fundamental physics concepts, Semiconductor, Solar cell, Band gap, Atomic orbital, Semiconductors