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Optical properties of excited silicon and germanium at low temperatures


Lyon, Stephen Aplin (1979) Optical properties of excited silicon and germanium at low temperatures. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/8gcb-7j35.


Part I of this thesis deals with 3 topics concerning the luminescence from bound multi-exciton complexes in Si. Part II presents a model for the decay of electron-hole droplets in pure and doped Ge.

Part I.

We present high resolution photoluminescence data for Si doped With Al, Ga, and In. We observe emission lines due to recombination of electron-hole pairs in bound excitons and satellite lines which have been interpreted in terms of complexes of several excitons bound to an impurity. The bound exciton luminescence in Si:Ga and Si:Al consists of three emission lines due to transitions from the ground state and two low lying excited states. In Si:Ga, we observe a second triplet of emission lines which precisely mirror the triplet due to the bound exciton. This second triplet is interpreted as due to decay of a two exciton complex into the bound exciton. The observation of the second complete triplet in Si:Ga conclusively demonstrates that more than one exciton will bind to an impurity. Similar results are found for Si:Al. The energy of the lines show that the second exciton is less tightly bound than the first in Si:Ga. Other lines are observed at lower energies. The assumption of ground state to ground-state transitions for the lower energy lines is shown to produce a complicated dependence of binding energy of the last exciton on the number of excitons in a complex. No line attributable to the decay of a two exciton complex is observed in Si:In.

We present measurements of the bound exciton lifetimes for the four common acceptors in Si and for the first two bound multi-exciton complexes in Si:Ga and Si:Al. These results are shown to be in agreement with a calculation by Osbourn and Smith of Auger transition rates for acceptor bound excitons in Si. Kinetics determine the relative populations of complexes of various sizes and work functions, at temperatures which do not allow them to thermalize with respect to one another. It is shown that kinetic limitations may make it impossible to form two-exciton complexes in Si:In from a gas of free excitons.

We present direct thermodynamic measurements of the work functions of bound multi-exciton complexes in Al, B, P and Li doped Si. We find that in general the work functions are smaller than previously believed. These data remove one obstacle to the bound multi-exciton complex picture which has been the need to explain the very large apparent work functions for the larger complexes obtained by assuming that some of the observed lines are ground-state to ground-state transitions. None of the measured work functions exceed that of the electron-hole liquid.

Part II.

A new model for the decay of electron-hole-droplets in Ge is presented. The model is based on the existence of a cloud of droplets within the crystal and incorporates exciton flow among the drops in the cloud and the diffusion of excitons away from the cloud. It is able to fit the experimental luminescence decays for pure Ge at different temperatures and pump powers while retaining physically reasonable parameters for the drops. It predicts the shrinkage of the cloud at higher temperatures which has been verified by spatially and temporally resolved infrared absorption experiments. The model also accounts for the nearly exponential decay of electron-hole-droplets in lightly doped Ge at higher temperatures.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Applied Physics, Optical properties, silicon, germanium
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Applied Physics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • McGill, Thomas C. (advisor)
  • Smith, Darryl L. (co-advisor)
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:24 July 1978
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:07182014-141717487
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:8568
Deposited By: Dan Anguka
Deposited On:18 Jul 2014 21:54
Last Modified:09 Nov 2022 19:20

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