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Violet-blue photoluminescence from Si nanoparticles with zinc-blende structure synthesized by laser ablation in liquids
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Violet-blue luminescence from Si nanostructures has been widely investigated, because of its potential use in optoelectronic and bioimaging devices. However, the emission mechanism in multiform Si nanomaterials remains unclear. In this contribution, Si nanocrystals (NCs) with zincblende structure and visible violet-blue emission are prepared by electric field assisted laser ablation in liquids. While subsequent annealing of the Si NCs weakens their blue emission dramatically. We investigate the origin of the violet-blue emission by monitoring crystal structure transitions and photoluminescence during different treatments of the Si NCs. The results indicate that the violet-blue emission cannot simply be ascribed to quantum confinement effects or the presence of general surface states on the Si NCs. Instead, we propose that excitons are formed within the Si NCs by direct transitions at Γ or X points, which can be induced during the formation of the zincblende structure, and are a most possible origin of the violet-blue luminescence. Furthermore, defects in the metastable Si NCs are also expected to play an important role in violet-blue emission. This study not only gives clear and general insight into the physical origins of violet-blue emission from Si NCs, it also provides useful information for designing optoelectronic devices based on Si NCs.
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