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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 27, 2022
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 17, 2023
  3. Hydrogenated amorphous silicon (a-Si:H) has drawn keen interest as a thin-film semiconductor and superb passivation layer in high-efficiency silicon solar cells due to its low cost, low processing temperature, high compatibility with substrates, and scalable manufacturing. Although the impact of hydrogenation on the structural, optical, and electronic properties of a-Si:H has been extensively studied, the underlying physics of its impact on the thermal properties is still unclear. Here, we synthesize a-Si:H films with well-controlled hydrogen concentrations using plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition and systematically study the thermal conductivity of these a-Si:H films using time-domain thermoreflectance. We find that the reduction of thermal conductivity of a-Si:H films is attributed to the suppression of diffuson and propagon contributions as the hydrogen concentration increases. At the maximum hydrogen concentration of 25.4 atomic percentage, the contributions from diffusons and propagons to the thermal conductivity are decreased by 40% (from 1.10 to 0.67 W m −1 K −1 ) and 64% (from 0.61 to 0.22 W m −1 K −1 ), respectively. Such a significant reduction in the thermal conductivity of a-Si:H originates from the hydrogen induced material softening, the decrease in density, and phonon-defect scattering. The results of this work provide fundamental insights into themore »thermal transport properties of a-Si:H thin films, which is beneficial for the design and optimization of amorphous silicon-based technologies including photovoltaics, large-area electronics, and thermoelectric devices.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 21, 2022
  4. Nonthermal plasma (NTP) offers a unique synthesis environment capable of producing nanocrystals of high melting point materials at relatively low gas temperatures. Despite the rapidly growing material library accessible through NTP synthesis, designing processes for new materials is predominantly empirically driven. Here, we report on the synthesis of both amorphous alumina and γ-Al 2 O 3 nanocrystals and present a simple particle heating model that is suitable for predicting the plasma power necessary for crystallization. The heating model only requires the composition, temperature, and pressure of the background gas along with the reactor geometry to calculate the temperature of particles suspended in the plasma as a function of applied power. Complete crystallization of the nanoparticle population was observed when applied power was greater than the threshold where the calculated particle temperature is equal to the crystallization temperature of amorphous alumina.
  5. Understanding and controlling the energy transfer between silicon nanocrystals is of significant importance for the design of efficient optoelectronic devices. However, previous studies on silicon nanocrystal energy transfer were limited because of the strict requirements to precisely control the inter-dot distance and to perform all measurements in air-free environments to preclude the effect of ambient oxygen. Here, we systematically investigate the distance-dependent resonance energy transfer in alkyl-terminated silicon nanocrystals for the first time. Silicon nanocrystal solids with inter-dot distances varying from 3 to 5 nm are fabricated by varying the length and surface coverage of alkyl ligands in solution-phase and gas-phase functionalized silicon nanocrystals. The inter-dot energy transfer rates are extracted from steady-state and time-resolved photoluminescence measurements, enabling a direct comparison to theoretical predictions. Our results reveal that the distance-dependent energy transfer rates in Si NCs decay faster than predicted by the Förster mechanism, suggesting higher-order multipole interactions.

    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 31, 2023
  6. null (Ed.)