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1.  Nanoscale observation of surface potential and carrier transport in Cu2ZnSn(S,Se)4 thin films grown by sputtering-based two-step process 
Stacked precursors of Cu-Zn-Sn-S were grown by radio frequency sputtering and annealed in a furnace with Se metals to form thin-film solar cell materials of Cu2ZnSn(S,Se)4 (CZTSSe). The samples have different absorber layer thickness of 1 to 2 μm and show conversion efficiencies up to 8.06%. Conductive atomic force microscopy and Kelvin probe force microscopy were used to explore the local electrical properties of the surface of CZTSSe thin films. The high-efficiency CZTSSe thin film exhibits significantly positive bending of surface potential around the grain boundaries. Dominant current paths along the grain boundaries are also observed. The surface electrical parameters of potential and current lead to potential solar cell applications using CZTSSe thin films, which may be an alternative choice of Cu(In,Ga)Se2.
PACS number: 08.37.-d; 61.72.Mm; 71.35.-y
PMCID: PMC3895808  PMID: 24397924
Cu2ZnSn(S,Se)4; Cu(In,Ga)Se2; Kesterite; Conductive atomic force microscopy; Kelvin probe force microscopy
2.  Quantifying charge carrier concentration in ZnO thin films by Scanning Kelvin Probe Microscopy 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:4203.
In the last years there has been a renewed interest for zinc oxide semiconductor, mainly triggered by its prospects in optoelectronic applications. In particular, zinc oxide thin films are being widely used for photovoltaic applications, in which the determination of the electrical conductivity is of great importance. Being an intrinsically doped material, the quantification of its doping concentration has always been challenging. Here we show how to probe the charge carrier density of zinc oxide thin films by Scanning Kelvin Probe Microscopy, a technique that allows measuring the contact potential difference between the tip and the sample surface with high spatial resolution. A simple electronic energy model is used for correlating the contact potential difference with the doping concentration in the material. Limitations of this technique are discussed in details and some experimental solutions are proposed. Two-dimensional doping concentration images acquired on radio frequency-sputtered intrinsic zinc oxide thin films with different thickness and deposited under different conditions are reported. We show that results inferred with this technique are in accordance with carrier concentration expected for zinc oxide thin films deposited under different conditions and obtained from resistivity and mobility measurements.
PMCID: PMC3935190  PMID: 24569599
3.  Kelvin probe force microscopy of nanocrystalline TiO2 photoelectrodes 
Dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs) provide a promising third-generation photovoltaic concept based on the spectral sensitization of a wide-bandgap metal oxide. Although the nanocrystalline TiO2 photoelectrode of a DSC consists of sintered nanoparticles, there are few studies on the nanoscale properties. We focus on the microscopic work function and surface photovoltage (SPV) determination of TiO2 photoelectrodes using Kelvin probe force microscopy in combination with a tunable illumination system. A comparison of the surface potentials for TiO2 photoelectrodes sensitized with two different dyes, i.e., the standard dye N719 and a copper(I) bis(imine) complex, reveals an inverse orientation of the surface dipole. A higher surface potential was determined for an N719 photoelectrode. The surface potential increase due to the surface dipole correlates with a higher DSC performance. Concluding from this, microscopic surface potential variations, attributed to the complex nanostructure of the photoelectrode, influence the DSC performance. For both bare and sensitized TiO2 photoelectrodes, the measurements reveal microscopic inhomogeneities of more than 100 mV in the work function and show recombination time differences at different locations. The bandgap of 3.2 eV, determined by SPV spectroscopy, remained constant throughout the TiO2 layer. The effect of the built-in potential on the DSC performance at the TiO2/SnO2:F interface, investigated on a nanometer scale by KPFM measurements under visible light illumination, has not been resolved so far.
PMCID: PMC3701424  PMID: 23844348
atomic force microscopy (AFM); dye-sensitized solar cells (DSC); Kelvin probe force microscopy (KPFM); surface photovoltage (SPV); titanium dioxide (TiO2)
4.  Synthesis, structure, and opto-electronic properties of organic-based nanoscale heterojunctions 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2011;6(1):238.
Enormous research effort has been put into optimizing organic-based opto-electronic systems for efficient generation of free charge carriers. This optimization is mainly due to typically high dissociation energy (0.1-1 eV) and short diffusion length (10 nm) of excitons in organic materials. Inherently, interplay of microscopic structural, chemical, and opto-electronic properties plays crucial role. We show that employing and combining advanced scanning probe techniques can provide us significant insight into the correlation of these properties. By adjusting parameters of contact- and tapping-mode atomic force microscopy (AFM), we perform morphologic and mechanical characterizations (nanoshaving) of organic layers, measure their electrical conductivity by current-sensing AFM, and deduce work functions and surface photovoltage (SPV) effects by Kelvin force microscopy using high spatial resolution. These data are further correlated with local material composition detected using micro-Raman spectroscopy and with other electronic transport data. We demonstrate benefits of this multi-dimensional characterizations on (i) bulk heterojunction of fully organic composite films, indicating differences in blend quality and component segregation leading to local shunts of photovoltaic cell, and (ii) thin-film heterojunction of polypyrrole (PPy) electropolymerized on hydrogen-terminated diamond, indicating covalent bonding and transfer of charge carriers from PPy to diamond.
PMCID: PMC3211298  PMID: 21711759
5.  Synthesis of Nanocrystalline SnOx (x = 1–2) Thin Film Using a Chemical Bath Deposition Method with Improved Deposition Time, Temperature and pH 
Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)  2011;11(10):9207-9216.
Nanocrystalline SnOx (x = 1–2) thin films were prepared on glass substrates by a simple chemical bath deposition method. Triethanolamine was used as complexing agent to decrease time and temperature of deposition and shift the pH of the solution to the noncorrosive region. The films were characterized for composition, surface morphology, structure and optical properties. X-ray diffraction analysis confirms that SnOx thin films consist of a polycrystalline structure with an average grain size of 36 nm. Atomic force microscopy studies show a uniform grain distribution without pinholes. The elemental composition was evaluated by energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy. The average O/Sn atomic percentage ratio is 1.72. Band gap energy and optical transition were determined from optical absorbance data. The film was found to exhibit direct and indirect transitions in the visible spectrum with band gap values of about 3.9 and 3.7 eV, respectively. The optical transmittance in the visible region is 82%. The SnOx nanocrystals exhibit an ultraviolet emission band centered at 392 nm in the vicinity of the band edge, which is attributed to the well-known exciton transition in SnOx. Photosensitivity was detected in the positive region under illumination with white light.
PMCID: PMC3231256  PMID: 22163690
nanocrystalline; semiconductor; chemical bath deposition; photoluminescence
6.  A Silicon Nanocrystal Schottky Junction Solar Cell produced from Colloidal Silicon Nanocrystals 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2010;5(8):1253-1256.
Solution-processed semiconductors are seen as a promising route to reducing the cost of the photovoltaic device manufacture. We are reporting a single-layer Schottky photovoltaic device that was fabricated by spin-coating intrinsic silicon nanocrystals (Si NCs) from colloidal suspension. The thin-film formation process was based on Si NCs without any ligand attachment, exchange, or removal reactions. The Schottky junction device showed a photovoltaic response with a power conversion efficiency of 0.02%, a fill factor of 0.26, short circuit-current density of 0.148 mA/cm2, and open-circuit voltage of 0.51 V.
PMCID: PMC2897035  PMID: 20676200
Silicon nanocrystals; Solar cell; Schottky junction; Thin film
7.  A Silicon Nanocrystal Schottky Junction Solar Cell produced from Colloidal Silicon Nanocrystals 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2010;5(8):1253-1256.
Solution-processed semiconductors are seen as a promising route to reducing the cost of the photovoltaic device manufacture. We are reporting a single-layer Schottky photovoltaic device that was fabricated by spin-coating intrinsic silicon nanocrystals (Si NCs) from colloidal suspension. The thin-film formation process was based on Si NCs without any ligand attachment, exchange, or removal reactions. The Schottky junction device showed a photovoltaic response with a power conversion efficiency of 0.02%, a fill factor of 0.26, short circuit-current density of 0.148 mA/cm2, and open-circuit voltage of 0.51 V.
PMCID: PMC2897035  PMID: 20676200
Silicon nanocrystals; Solar cell; Schottky junction; Thin film
8.  Influence of the layer thickness in plasmonic gold nanoparticles produced by thermal evaporation 
Scientific Reports  2013;3:1469.
Metallic nanoparticles (NPs) have received recently considerable interest of photonic and photovoltaic communities. In this work, we report the optoelectronic properties of gold NPs (Au-NPs) obtained by depositing very thin gold layers on glass substrates through thermal evaporation electron-beam assisted process. The effect of mass thickness of the layer was evaluated. The polycrystalline Au-NPs, with grain sizes of 14 and 19 nm tend to be elongated in one direction as the mass thickness increase. A 2 nm layer deposited at 250°C led to the formation of Au-NPs with 10-20 nm average size, obtained by SEM images, while for a 5 nm layer the wide size elongates from 25 to 150 nm with a mean at 75 nm. In the near infrared region was observed an absorption enhancement of amorphous silicon films deposited onto the Au-NPs layers with a corresponding increase in the PL peak for the same wavelength region.
PMCID: PMC3615571  PMID: 23552055
9.  Routes to rupture and folding of graphene on rough 6H-SiC(0001) and their identification 
Twisted few layer graphene (FLG) is highly attractive from an application point of view, due to its extraordinary electronic properties. In order to study its properties, we demonstrate and discuss three different routes to in situ create and identify (twisted) FLG. Single layer graphene (SLG) sheets mechanically exfoliated under ambient conditions on 6H-SiC(0001) are modified by (i) swift heavy ion (SHI) irradiation, (ii) by a force microscope tip and (iii) by severe heating. The resulting surface topography and the surface potential are investigated with non-contact atomic force microscopy (NC-AFM) and Kelvin probe force microscopy (KPFM). SHI irradiation results in rupture of the SLG sheets, thereby creating foldings and bilayer graphene (BLG). Applying the other modification methods creates enlarged (twisted) graphene foldings that show rupture along preferential edges of zigzag and armchair type. Peeling at a folding over an edge different from a low index crystallographic direction can result in twisted BLG, showing a similar height as Bernal (or AA-stacked) BLG in NC-AFM images. The rotational stacking can be identified by a significant contrast in the local contact potential difference (LCPD) measured by KPFM.
PMCID: PMC3817683  PMID: 24205456
graphene; Kelvin probe force microscopy (KPFM), local contact potential difference (LCPD); non-contact atomic force microscopy (NC-AFM); SiC
10.  Guided assembly of nanoparticles on electrostatically charged nanocrystalline diamond thin films 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2011;6(1):144.
We apply atomic force microscope for local electrostatic charging of oxygen-terminated nanocrystalline diamond (NCD) thin films deposited on silicon, to induce electrostatically driven self-assembly of colloidal alumina nanoparticles into micro-patterns. Considering possible capacitive, sp2 phase and spatial uniformity factors to charging, we employ films with sub-100 nm thickness and about 60% relative sp2 phase content, probe the spatial material uniformity by Raman and electron microscopy, and repeat experiments at various positions. We demonstrate that electrostatic potential contrast on the NCD films varies between 0.1 and 1.2 V and that the contrast of more than ±1 V (as detected by Kelvin force microscopy) is able to induce self-assembly of the nanoparticles via coulombic and polarization forces. This opens prospects for applications of diamond and its unique set of properties in self-assembly of nano-devices and nano-systems.
PMCID: PMC3211194  PMID: 21711679
11.  A comparative study of two different approaches for the incorporation of silver nanoparticles into layer-by-layer films 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2014;9(1):301.
In this work, a comparative study about the incorporation of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) into thin films is presented using two alternative methods, the in situ synthesis process and the layer-by-layer embedding deposition technique. The influence of several parameters such as color of the films, thickness evolution, thermal post-treatment, or distribution of the AgNPs along the coatings has been studied. Thermal post-treatment was used to induce the formation of hydrogel-like AgNPs-loaded thin films. Cross-sectional transmission electron microscopy micrographs, atomic force microscopy images, and UV-vis spectra reveal significant differences in the size and distribution of the AgNPs into the films as well as the maximal absorbance and wavelength position of the localized surface plasmon resonance absorption bands before and after thermal post-treatment. This work contributes for a better understanding of these two approaches for the incorporation of AgNPs into thin films using wet chemistry.
PMCID: PMC4066310  PMID: 24982607
Silver nanoparticles; Thin films; In situ synthesis process; Layer-by-layer embedding deposition technique
12.  Preferentially oriented BaTiO3 thin films deposited on silicon with thin intermediate buffer layers 
Barium titanate (BaTiO3) thin films are prepared by conventional 2-methoxy ethanol-based chemical solution deposition. We report highly c-axis-oriented BaTiO3 thin films grown on silicon substrates, coated with a lanthanum oxynitrate buffer layer of 8.9 nm. The influence of the intermediate buffer layer on the crystallization of BaTiO3 film is investigated. The annealing temperature and buffer layer sintering conditions are optimized to obtain good crystal growth. X-ray diffraction measurements show the growth of highly oriented BaTiO3 thin films having a single perovskite phase with tetragonal geometry. The scanning electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy studies indicate the presence of smooth, crack-free, uniform layers, with densely packed crystal grains on the silicon surface. A BaTiO3 film of 150-nm thickness, deposited on a buffer layer of 7.2 nm, shows a dielectric constant of 270, remnant polarization (2Pr) of 5 μC/cm2, and coercive field (Ec) of 60 kV/cm.
PMCID: PMC3579712  PMID: 23391429
Barium titanate; Buffer layer; Chemical solution deposition; Ferroelectric thin films
13.  An NC-AFM and KPFM study of the adsorption of a triphenylene derivative on KBr(001) 
The adsorption on KBr(001) of a specially designed molecule, consisting of a flat aromatic triphenylene core equipped with six flexible propyl chains ending with polar cyano groups, is investigated by using atomic force microscopy in the noncontact mode (NC-AFM) coupled to Kelvin probe force microscopy (KPFM) in ultrahigh vacuum at room temperature. Two types of monolayers are identified, one in which the molecules lie flat on the surface (MLh) and another in which they stand approximately upright (MLv). The Kelvin voltage on these two structures is negatively shifted relative to that of the clean KBr surface, revealing the presence of surface dipoles with a component pointing along the normal to the surface. These findings are interpreted with the help of numerical simulations. It is shown that the surface–molecule interaction is dominated by the electrostatic interaction of the cyano groups with the K+ ions of the substrate. The molecule is strongly adsorbed in the MLh structure with an adsorption energy of 1.8 eV. In the MLv layer, the molecules form π-stacked rows aligned along the polar directions of the KBr surface. In these rows, the molecules are less strongly bound to the substrate, but the structure is stabilized by the strong intermolecular interaction due to π-stacking.
PMCID: PMC3323911  PMID: 22496995
atomic force microscopy; insulating surfaces; Kelvin force probe microscopy; molecular adsorption
14.  The Effect of Metal-Semiconductor Contact on the Transient Photovoltaic Characteristic of HgCdTe PV Detector 
The Scientific World Journal  2013;2013:213091.
The transient photovoltaic (PV) characteristic of HgCdTe PV array is studied using an ultrafast laser. The photoresponse shows an apparent negative valley first, then it evolves into a positive peak. By employing a combined theoretical model of pn junction and Schottky potential, this photo-response polarity changing curves can be interpreted well. An obvious decreasing of ratio of negative valley to positive peak can be realized by limiting the illumination area of the array electrode. This shows that the photoelectric effect of Schottky barrier at metal-semiconductor (M/S) interface is suppressed, which will verify the correctness of the model. The characteristic parameters of transient photo-response induced from p-n junction and Schottky potential are extracted by fitting the response curve utilizing this model. It shows that the negative PV response induced by the Schottky barrier decreases the positive photovoltage generated by the pn junction.
PMCID: PMC3806429  PMID: 24194676
15.  Fabrication and properties of ZnO/GaN heterostructure nanocolumnar thin film on Si (111) substrate 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2013;8(1):112.
Zinc oxide thin films have been obtained on bare and GaN buffer layer decorated Si (111) substrates by pulsed laser deposition (PLD), respectively. GaN buffer layer was achieved by a two-step method. The structure, surface morphology, composition, and optical properties of these thin films were investigated by X-ray diffraction, field emission scanning electron microscopy, infrared absorption spectra, and photoluminiscence (PL) spectra, respectively. Scanning electron microscopy images indicate that the flower-like grains were presented on the surface of ZnO thin films grown on GaN/Si (111) substrate, while the ZnO thin films grown on Si (111) substrate show the morphology of inclination column. PL spectrum reveals that the ultraviolet emission efficiency of ZnO thin film on GaN buffer layer is high, and the defect emission of ZnO thin film derived from Zni and Vo is low. The results demonstrate that the existence of GaN buffer layer can greatly improve the ZnO thin film on the Si (111) substrate by PLD techniques.
PMCID: PMC3599829  PMID: 23448090
PLD; ZnO thin films; GaN buffer layer; Crystal structure; Optical properties
16.  Evolution of microstructure and related optical properties of ZnO grown by atomic layer deposition 
A study of transmittance and photoluminescence spectra on the growth of oxygen-rich ultra-thin ZnO films prepared by atomic layer deposition is reported. The structural transition from an amorphous to a polycrystalline state is observed upon increasing the thickness. The unusual behavior of the energy gap with thickness reflected by optical properties is attributed to the improvement of the crystalline structure resulting from a decreasing concentration of point defects at the growth of grains. The spectra of UV and visible photoluminescence emissions correspond to transitions near the band-edge and defect-related transitions. Additional emissions were observed from band-tail states near the edge. A high oxygen ratio and variable optical properties could be attractive for an application of atomic layer deposition (ALD) deposited ultrathin ZnO films in optical sensors and biosensors.
PMCID: PMC3817613  PMID: 24205465
atomic layer deposition; optical properties; photoluminescence; thin films; ZnO
17.  Atomistic Origins of High-Performance in Hybrid Halide Perovskite Solar Cells 
Nano Letters  2014;14(5):2584-2590.
The performance of organometallic perovskite solar cells has rapidly surpassed that of both conventional dye-sensitized and organic photovoltaics. High-power conversion efficiency can be realized in both mesoporous and thin-film device architectures. We address the origin of this success in the context of the materials chemistry and physics of the bulk perovskite as described by electronic structure calculations. In addition to the basic optoelectronic properties essential for an efficient photovoltaic device (spectrally suitable band gap, high optical absorption, low carrier effective masses), the materials are structurally and compositionally flexible. As we show, hybrid perovskites exhibit spontaneous electric polarization; we also suggest ways in which this can be tuned through judicious choice of the organic cation. The presence of ferroelectric domains will result in internal junctions that may aid separation of photoexcited electron and hole pairs, and reduction of recombination through segregation of charge carriers. The combination of high dielectric constant and low effective mass promotes both Wannier-Mott exciton separation and effective ionization of donor and acceptor defects. The photoferroic effect could be exploited in nanostructured films to generate a higher open circuit voltage and may contribute to the current–voltage hysteresis observed in perovskite solar cells.
PMCID: PMC4022647  PMID: 24684284
Hybrid perovskite; photovoltaic; density functional theory; ferroelectric
18.  Structural, morphological, and optical properties of TiO2 thin films synthesized by the electro phoretic deposition technique 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2012;7(1):357.
In this work, we report the structural, morphological, and optical properties of TiO2 thin films synthesized by the electro phoretic deposition technique. The TiO2 film was formed on a doped fluorine tin oxide (SnO2:F, i.e., FTO) layer and used as a photo electrode in a dye solar cell (DSC). Using spectroscopic ellipsometry measurements in the 200 to 800 nm wavelengths domain, we obtain a thickness of the TiO2 film in the range of 70 to 80 nm. Characterizations by X-ray diffraction and atomic force microscopy (AFM) show a polycrystalline film. In addition, AFM investigation shows no cracks in the formed layer. Using an ultraviolet–visible near-infrared spectrophotometer, we found that the transmittance of the TiO2 film in the visible domain reaches 75%. From the measured current–voltage or I-V characteristic under AM1.5 illumination of the formed DSC, we obtain an open circuit voltage Voc = 628 mV and a short circuit current Isc = 22.6 μA, where the surface of the formed cell is 3.14 cm2.
PMCID: PMC3458948  PMID: 22747886
DSC; TiO2; Electrophoresis; Physical properties; I-V characteristic
19.  Defects in oxide surfaces studied by atomic force and scanning tunneling microscopy 
Surfaces of thin oxide films were investigated by means of a dual mode NC-AFM/STM. Apart from imaging the surface termination by NC-AFM with atomic resolution, point defects in magnesium oxide on Ag(001) and line defects in aluminum oxide on NiAl(110), respectively, were thoroughly studied. The contact potential was determined by Kelvin probe force microscopy (KPFM) and the electronic structure by scanning tunneling spectroscopy (STS). On magnesium oxide, different color centers, i.e., F0, F+, F2+ and divacancies, have different effects on the contact potential. These differences enabled classification and unambiguous differentiation by KPFM. True atomic resolution shows the topography at line defects in aluminum oxide. At these domain boundaries, STS and KPFM verify F2+-like centers, which have been predicted by density functional theory calculations. Thus, by determining the contact potential and the electronic structure with a spatial resolution in the nanometer range, NC-AFM and STM can be successfully applied on thin oxide films beyond imaging the topography of the surface atoms.
PMCID: PMC3045939  PMID: 21977410
aluminum oxide; charge state; contact potential; defects; domain boundaries; dynamic force microscopy; frequency modulation atomic force microscopy; Kelvin probe force microscopy; magnesium oxide; non-contact atomic force microscopy; scanning tunneling microscopy; thin films; work function
20.  Exploring electronic structure of one-atom thick polycrystalline graphene films: A nano angle resolved photoemission study 
Scientific Reports  2013;3:2439.
The ability to produce large, continuous and defect free films of graphene is presently a major challenge for multiple applications. Even though the scalability of graphene films is closely associated to a manifest polycrystalline character, only a few numbers of experiments have explored so far the electronic structure down to single graphene grains. Here we report a high resolution angle and lateral resolved photoelectron spectroscopy (nano-ARPES) study of one-atom thick graphene films on thin copper foils synthesized by chemical vapor deposition. Our results show the robustness of the Dirac relativistic-like electronic spectrum as a function of the size, shape and orientation of the single-crystal pristine grains in the graphene films investigated. Moreover, by mapping grain by grain the electronic dynamics of this unique Dirac system, we show that the single-grain gap-size is 80% smaller than the multi-grain gap recently reported by classical ARPES.
PMCID: PMC3743056  PMID: 23942471
21.  Exchanging Ohmic Losses in Metamaterial Absorbers with Useful Optical Absorption for Photovoltaics 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:4901.
Using metamaterial absorbers, we have shown that metallic layers in the absorbers do not necessarily constitute undesired resistive heating problem for photovoltaics. Tailoring the geometric skin depth of metals and employing the natural bulk absorbance characteristics of the semiconductors in those absorbers can enable the exchange of undesired resistive losses with the useful optical absorbance in the active semiconductors. Thus, Ohmic loss dominated metamaterial absorbers can be converted into photovoltaic near-perfect absorbers with the advantage of harvesting the full potential of light management offered by the metamaterial absorbers. Based on experimental permittivity data for indium gallium nitride, we have shown that between 75%–95% absorbance can be achieved in the semiconductor layers of the converted metamaterial absorbers. Besides other metamaterial and plasmonic devices, our results may also apply to photodectors and other metal or semiconductor based optical devices where resistive losses and power consumption are important pertaining to the device performance.
PMCID: PMC4014987  PMID: 24811322
22.  The Kelvin–Helmholtz instability at Venus: What is the unstable boundary? 
Icarus  2011;216(2):476-484.
► We study the Kelvin–Helmholtz instability at boundary layers around of Venus. ► The stability of the induced magnetopause and the ionopause is examined. ► The ionopause seems to be stable due to a large density jump across this boundary. ► The instability evolves into its nonlinear phase on the magnetopause at solar maximum. ► Loss rates are therefore lower than previously assumed.
The Kelvin–Helmholtz instability gained scientific attention after observations at Venus by the spacecraft Pioneer Venus Orbiter gave rise to speculations that the instability contributes to the loss of planetary ions through the formation of plasma clouds. Since then, a handful of studies were devoted to the Kelvin–Helmholtz instability at the ionopause and its implications for Venus. The aim of this study is to investigate the stability of the two instability-relevant boundary layers around Venus: the induced magnetopause and the ionopause. We solve the 2D magnetohydrodynamic equations with the total variation diminishing Lax–Friedrichs algorithm and perform simulation runs with different initial conditions representing the situation at the boundary layers around Venus. Our results show that the Kelvin–Helmholtz instability does not seem to be able to reach its nonlinear vortex phase at the ionopause due to the very effective stabilizing effect of a large density jump across this boundary layer. This seems also to be true for the induced magnetopause for low solar activity. During high solar activity, however, there could occur conditions at the induced magnetopause which are in favour of the nonlinear evolution of the instability. For this situation, we estimated roughly a growth rate for planetary oxygen ions of about 7.6 × 1025 s−1, which should be regarded as an upper limit for loss due to the Kelvin–Helmholtz instability.
PMCID: PMC3280700  PMID: 22347723
Magnetospheres; Solar wind; Venus
23.  High-efficiency GaAs and GaInP solar cells grown by all solid-state molecular-beam-epitaxy 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2011;6(1):576.
We report the initial results of GaAs and GaInP solar cells grown by all solid-state molecular-beam-epitaxy (MBE) technique. For GaAs single-junction solar cell, with the application of AlInP as the window layer and GaInP as the back surface field layer, the photovoltaic conversion efficiency of 26% at one sun concentration and air mass 1.5 global (AM1.5G) is realized. The efficiency of 16.4% is also reached for GaInP solar cell. Our results demonstrate that the MBE-grown phosphide-contained III-V compound semiconductor solar cell can be quite comparable to the metal-organic-chemical-vapor-deposition-grown high-efficiency solar cell.
PMCID: PMC3223256  PMID: 22040124
24.  Standardization of surface potential measurements of graphene domains 
Scientific Reports  2013;3:2597.
We compare the three most commonly used scanning probe techniques to obtain a reliable value of the work function in graphene domains of different thickness. The surface potential (SP) of graphene is directly measured in Hall bar geometry via a combination of electrical functional microscopy and spectroscopy techniques, which enables calibrated work function measurements of graphene domains in ambient conditions with values Φ1LG ~4.55 ± 0.02 eV and Φ2LG ~ 4.44 ± 0.02 eV for single- and bi-layer, respectively. We demonstrate that frequency-modulated Kelvin probe force microscopy (FM-KPFM) provides more accurate measurement of the SP than amplitude-modulated (AM)-KPFM. The discrepancy between experimental results obtained by different techniques is discussed. In addition, we use FM-KPFM for contactless measurements of the specific components of the device resistance. We show a strong non-Ohmic behavior of the electrode-graphene contact resistance and extract the graphene channel resistivity.
PMCID: PMC3764438  PMID: 24008915
25.  Measuring long-range carrier diffusion across multiple grains in polycrystalline semiconductors by photoluminescence imaging 
Nature Communications  2013;4:2699.
Thin-film polycrystalline semiconductors are currently at the forefront of inexpensive large-area solar cell and integrated circuit technologies because of their reduced processing and substrate selection constraints. Understanding the extent to which structural and electronic defects influence carrier transport in these materials is critical to controlling the optoelectronic properties, yet many measurement techniques are only capable of indirectly probing their effects. Here we apply a novel photoluminescence imaging technique to directly observe the low temperature diffusion of photocarriers through and across defect states in polycrystalline CdTe thin films. Our measurements show that an inhomogeneous distribution of localized defect states mediates long-range hole transport across multiple grain boundaries to locations exceeding 10 μm from the point of photogeneration. These results provide new insight into the key role deep trap states have in low temperature carrier transport in polycrystalline CdTe by revealing their propensity to act as networks for hopping conduction.
Understanding the role of defects on semiconductor carrier transport should help improve their performance in devices. Using photoluminescence techniques, Alberi et al. image the carrier diffusion in polycrystalline CdTe and find that long-range transport is mediated by the distribution of defect states.
PMCID: PMC3826654  PMID: 24158163

Results 1-25 (401329)