The electrical and optical properties of semiconductor nanocrystals (NCs) can be controlled, in addition to size and shape, by doping. However, such a process is not trivial in NCs due to the high formation energy of dopants there. Nevertheless, it has been shown theoretically that in the case of B and P (acceptor/donor) codoped Si-NCs the formation energy is reduced relative to that of single type doping. Previous comprehensive measurements on ensembles of such codoped Si-NCs have pointed to the presence of donor and acceptor states within the energy gap. However, such a conjecture has not been directly verified previously. Following that, we investigate here the electronic properties of B and P codoped Si-NCs via Scanning Tunneling Spectroscopy. We monitored the quantum confinement effect in this system, for which the energy gap changed from ∼1.4 eV to ∼1.8 eV with the decrease of NC diameter from 8.5 to 3.5 nm. Importantly, all spectra showed two in-gap band-states, one close to the conduction band edge and the other to the valence band edge, which we attribute to the P and B dopant levels, respectively. The energy separation between these dopants states decrease monotonically with increasing NC diameter, in parallel to the decrease of the conduction-to-valence bands separation. A fundamental quantity that is derived directly for these Si-NCs is the intrinsic like position of the Fermi energy, a non-trivial result that is very relevant for understanding the system. Following the above results we suggest an explanation for the character and the origin of the dopants bands.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the Israel Science Foundation. O. M. acknowledges support from the Harry de Jur Chair in Applied Science, and I. B. thanks support from the Enrique Berman Chair in Solar Energy Research. M. F. acknowledges support from JST Visegrad Group (V4)-Japan Joint Research Project on Advanced Materials “NaMSeN” and JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number 16H03828.
© 2017 The Royal Society of Chemistry.