The results of irradiation of i-Ge single crystals by fundamental frequency (λ1
nm) of Nd:YAG laser at intensity higher than 7.0
have shown possibility to form cone-like nanostructures, as shown in Figure
. The ‘blueshifted’ photoluminescence spectrum obtained for Ge nanocones formed by laser radiation due to quantum confinement effect is shown in paper
]. The ‘redshifted’ of LO phonon line with frequency 300
in Raman back scattering spectrum after irradiation by the laser is another good evidence of quantum confinement effect in nanocones formed by laser radiation
Figure 1 AFM image of irradiated semiconductor surfaces. 3D AFM image of Ge surface irradiated by Nd:YAG laser at intensity of 7.0MW/cm2.
Investigation of the process of nanocone formation by different laser radiation intensities, using multimode laser, has shown a non-uniform deposition of Cu on p-Si substrates. After irradiation by multimode laser, laser-induced periodic surface structures are formed on the surface of Si. Cu was deposited on the top of periodic structures forming lines (see Figure
SEM image of Si with deposited Cu. SEM image of electrochemically deposited Cu lines on p-Si irradiated by Nd:YAG laser.
It is known that Cu can be electrochemically deposited on n-type semiconductor
]. Therefore, it was supposed that inversion of conductivity type takes place, and 'hills' of the periodic structures are of n-type. Possibility to invert conductivity type by laser radiation was shown in several p- and n-type semiconductors: p-Si
], and n-HgCdTe
]. Different mechanisms have been proposed to explain the nature of inversion of conductivity type, for example, impurities' segregation, defects' generation
] and oxygen-related donor generation
]. However, there are many contradictions in the mechanisms. For example, n-type impurities in Si irradiated by laser cannot be oxygen atoms, according to paper
]. Several authors have tried to explain p-n junction formation in n-type HgCdTe by defects’ generation, based on a model of defect formation related to interstitial mercury diffusion
]. On the other hand, the authors of those papers did not take into account the effect of temperature gradient on the diffusion of atoms in solid solution. Moreover, it is theoretically shown that the p-n junction can be formed by redistribution of impurities in co-doped Si in gradient temperature field
]. Thus, the mechanism of inversion of conductivity type by laser radiation is not clear until now.
I-V characteristics of i-Ge samples before and after irradiation by Nd:YAG laser with a wavelength of 266
nm and different laser intensities are shown in Figure
. The I-V characteristic of the non-irradiated sample is linear. It means, I-V characteristics obey Ohm’s law, and therefore, there are no potential barrier between the electric contacts and the sample. After irradiation by the laser, I-V characteristics become diode like. Moreover, this process takes place in threshold manner, it means, RR is non-monotonic function on laser radiation intensity. These results are explained by damage of p-n junction at threshold intensity (Ith
) due to formation of nanocones by laser radiation on a surface of semiconductor. A more detailed investigation of RR as a function of irradiation intensity of Nd:YAG laser for different wavelengths of the laser radiation and 350 laser pulses is shown in Figure
. Threshold intensities are observed at the fundamental frequency Ith1
, the second harmonic Ith2
, and the fourth harmonic Ith4
, as shown in Figure
- the dashed line. We can see that RR and Ith
are decreasing with increase of laser intensity and laser wavelength. We explain such behavior of I-V characteristics by formation of p-n junction at different depths which depends on penetration depth of laser beam. The decrease of the threshold intensity with increase of wavelength of Nd:YAG laser radiation and appearance of current-voltage characteristic rectification effect are explained in the following way: p-n junction is formed as a result of generation and redistribution of intrinsic point defects - vacancies and interstitial atoms in temperature gradient field - thermogradient effect
], which is caused by strongly absorbed laser radiation. According to thermogradient effect, interstitial atoms drift towards the irradiated surface, but vacancies drift to the opposite direction - in the bulk of semiconductor. Since the interstitials in Ge crystal are of n-type and vacancies are known to be of p-type
], a p-n junction is formed. Schematic illustration of n-p-i structure after irradiation of i-Ge sample is shown in Figure
. We can see that shallow donor levels in band diagram according to the paper
] has Ed
eV, and deep acceptor level has Ea
eV. The presence of deep acceptor level could be the main reason of low RR for p-n junction formed by laser radiation. For the improvement of I-V characteristics, it is necessary to use an acceptor with shallow level, for example Sb.
Figure 3 Current-voltage characteristics of Ge samples. Current-voltage characteristics of a non-irradiated and an irradiated i-Ge sample by Nd:YAG laser with different intensities at λ = 266nm and 350 laser pulses.
Rectification ratio for p-n junctions formed by different laser parameters. Rectification ratio as a function of irradiation intensity of Nd:YAG laser for different wavelengths of the laser radiation and 350 laser pulses.
Schematic illustration of n-p-i structure. Schematic illustration of n-p-i structure formed by Nd:YAG laser radiation on the surface of i-Ge crystal.
The mechanism of p-n junction formation by laser radiation in elementary semiconductors is the first stage of nanocone formation.
The second stage of nanocone formation in elementary semiconductors is laser heating up of the top layer enriched by interstitial atoms with further plastic deformation due to compressive stress caused by interstitials in the top layer and vacancies in the buried layer.
Additional evidence of two-stage mechanism for elementary semiconductors is non-monotonous dependence of microhardness of Si crystal as a function of the laser intensity
] and compressive stress can be introduced in Si-SiO2
system by laser radiation