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Investigations of Charge-Carrier Dynamics at Semiconductor/Liquid lnterfaces


Royea, William Joseph (2001) Investigations of Charge-Carrier Dynamics at Semiconductor/Liquid lnterfaces. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/gc45-ed38.


Theoretical and experimental investigations of charge-carrier dynamics at semiconductor/liquid interfaces, specifically with respect to interfacial electron transfer and surface recombination, are presented.

Fermi's golden rule has been used to formulate rate expressions for charge transfer of delocalized carriers in a nondegenerately doped semiconducting electrode to localized, outer-sphere redox acceptors in an electrolyte phase. The treatment allows comparison between charge-transfer kinetic data at metallic, semimetallic, and semiconducting electrodes in terms of parameters such as the electronic coupling to the electrode, the attenuation of coupling with distance into the electrolyte, and the reorganization energy of the charge-transfer event. Within this framework, rate constant values expected at representative semiconducting electrodes have been determined from experimental data for charge transfer at metallic electrodes. The maximum rate constant (i.e., at optimal exoergicity) for outer-sphere processes at semiconducting electrodes is computed to be in the range 10-17-10-16 cm4 s-1, which is in excellent agreement with prior theoretical models and experimental results for charge-transfer kinetics at semiconductor/liquid interfaces.

Double-layer corrections have been evaluated for semiconductor electrodes in both depletion and accumulation conditions. In conjuction with the Gouy-Chapman-Stern model, a finite difference approach has been used to calculate potential drops at a representative solid/liquid interface. Under all conditions that were simulated, the correction to the driving force used to evaluate the interfacial rate constant was determined to be less than 2% of the uncorrected interfacial rate constant.

Photoconductivity decay lifetimes have been obtained for Si(111) in contact with solutions of CH3OH or tetrahydrofuran containing one-electron oxidants. Silicon surfaces in contact with electrolyte solutions having Nernstian redox potentials > 0 V vs. SCE exhibited low effective surface recombination velocities regardless of the different surface chemistries. The formation of an inversion layer, and not a reduced density of electrical trap sites on the surface, is shown to be responsible for the long charge-carrier lifetimes observed for these systems. In addition, a method for preparing an air-stable, low surface recombination velocity Si surface through a two-step, chlorination/alkylation reaction is described.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Chemistry
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
Major Option:Chemistry
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Lewis, Nathan Saul
Thesis Committee:
  • Gray, Harry B. (chair)
  • Barton, Jacqueline K.
  • Marcus, Rudolph A.
  • Lewis, Nathan Saul
Defense Date:14 August 2000
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:03212014-101732487
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:8158
Deposited By: Benjamin Perez
Deposited On:21 Mar 2014 18:05
Last Modified:29 Nov 2022 23:22

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