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Experiments towards size and dopant control of germanium quantum dots for solar applications

1 Department of Chemistry, Rice University, Houston, Texas 77005, USA
2 Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, Rice University, Houston, Texas 77005, USA
3 Energy Safety Research Institute (ESRI), Swansea University Bay Campus, Swansea, SA1 8EN, Wales, UK

Topical Section: The solar cell

While the literature for the doping of silicon quantum dots (QDs) and nanocrystals (NCs) is extensive, reports of doping their germanium analogs are sparse. We report a range of attempts to dope Ge QDs both during and post-synthesis. The QDs have been characterized by TEM, XPS, and I/V measurements of SiO2 coated QD thin films in test cells using doped Si substrates. The solution synthesis of Ge QDs by the reduction of GeCl4 with LiAlH4 results in Ge QDs with a low level of chlorine atoms on the surface; however, during the H2PtCl6 catalyzed alkylation of the surface with allylamine, to enable water solubility of the Ge QDs, chlorine functionalization of the surface occurs resulting in p-type doping of the QD. A similar location of the dopant is proposed for phosphorus when incorporated by the addition of PCl3 during QD synthesis; however, the electronic doping effect is greater. The detected dopants are all present on the surface of the QD (s-type), suggesting a self-purification process is operative. Attempts to incorporate boron or gallium during synthesis were unsuccessful.
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