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Cathodoluminescence of N-doped SnO2 nanowires and microcrystals

Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, National Autonomous University of Mexico, Ensenada, 22800-Baja California, Mexico

Special Issues: Nanomaterials for energy and environmental applications

We present a cathodoluminescence (CL) study of the point defects in N-doped SnO2 nanowires and microcrystals synthesized by thermal evaporation at different growth temperatures and N concentrations. SnO2:N nanowires were grown at temperatures higher than 1150 °C with N concentrations below of about 3 at.%, while irregular microcrystals were obtained at lower temperatures increasing their N concentration gradually with the growth temperature. EELS and XPS measurements confirmed that N atoms were incorporated into the SnO2 lattice as substitutional impurities (NO). TEM and EDS measurements revealed that the nanowires grew along the [001] direction by a self-catalyzed growth mechanism. CL measurements showed that the nanowires and microcrystals generated a broad emission composed by three components centered at about 2.05, 2.47 and 2.75 eV. CL spectra obtained at 300 and 100 K showed that the component of 2.05 eV decreased in intensity proportionally to the nitrogen content of samples. We attribute this effect to a decrease of oxygen vacancies in the SnO2 nanowires and microcrystals, generated by the incorporation of nitrogen in their lattice.
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