Low-dimensional semiconductor structures, such as one-dimensional nanowires (NWs) and zerodimensional quantum dots (QDs), are materials with novel fundamental physical properties and a great potential for a wide range of nanoscale device applications. Here, especially promising are direct bandgap II-VI and III-V compounds and related alloys with a broad selection of compositions and band structures. For examples, NWs based on dilute nitride alloys, i.e. GaNAs and GaNP, provide both an optical active medium and well-shaped cavity and, therefore, can be used in a variety of advanced optoelectronic devices including intermediate band solar cells and efficient light-emitters. Self-assembled InAs QDs formed in the GaAs matrix are proposed as building blocks for entangled photon sources for quantum cryptography and quantum information processing as well as for spin light emitting devices. ZnO NWs can be utilized in a variety of applications including efficient UV lasers and gas sensors. In order to fully explore advantages of nanostructured materials, their electronic properties and lattice structure need to be comprehensively characterized and fully understood, which is not yet achieved in the case of aforementioned material systems. The research work presented this thesis addresses a selection of open issues via comprehensive optical characterization of individual nanostructures using micro-Raman ( -Raman) and micro-photoluminescence ( -PL) spectroscopies.
In paper 1 we study polarization properties of individual GaNP and GaP/GaNP core/shell NWs using polarization resolved μ-PL spectroscopy. Near band-edge emission in these structures is found to be strongly polarized (up to 60% at 150K) in the orthogonal direction to the NW axis, in spite of their zinc blende (ZB) structure. This polarization response, which is unusual for ZB NWs, is attributed to the local strain in the vicinity of the N-related centers participating in the radiative recombination and to their preferential alignment along the growth direction, presumably caused by the presence of planar defects. Our findings therefore show that defect engineering via alloying with nitrogen provides an additional degree of freedom to control the polarization anisotropy of III-V nanowires, advantageous for their applications as a nanoscale source of polarized light.
Structural and optical properties of novel coaxial GaAs/Ga(N)As NWs grown on Si substrates, were evaluated in papers 2-4. In paper 2 we show by using -Raman spectroscopy that, though nitrogen incorporation shortens a phonon correlation length, the GaNAs shell with [N]<0.6% has a low degree of alloy disorder and weak residual strain. Additionally, Raman scattering by the GaAs-like and GaNlike phonons is found to be enhanced when the excitation energy approaches the E+ transition energy. This effect was attributed the involvement of intermediate states that were created by N-related clusters in proximity to the E+ subband. Recombination processes in these structures were studied in paper 3 by means of μ-PL, μ-PL excitation (μ-PLE), and time-resolved PL spectroscopies. At low temperatures, the alloy disorder is found to localize photo-excited carriers leading to predominance of localized exciton (LE) transitions in the PL spectra. Some of the local fluctuations in N composition are suggested to create three-dimensional confining potentials equivalent to that for QDs, based on the observation of sharp PL lines within the LE contour. In paper 4 we show that the formation of these QD-like confinement potentials is somewhat facilitated in spatial regions of the NWs with a high density of structural defects, based on correlative spatially-resolved structural and optical studies. It is also concluded the principal axis of these QD-like local potentials is mainly oriented along the growth direction and emit light that is linearly polarized in the direction orthogonal to the NW axis. At room temperature, the PL emission is found to be dominated by recombination of free carriers/excitons and their lifetime is governed by non-radiative recombination via surface states. The surface recombination is found to become less severe upon N incorporation due to N-induced modification of the surface states, possibly due to partial surface nitridation. All these findings suggest that the GaNAs/GaAs hetero-structures with the onedimensional geometry are promising for fabrication of novel optoelectronic devices on foreign substrates (e.g. Si).
Fine-structure splitting (FSS) of excitons in semiconductor nanostructures has significant implications in photon entanglement, relevant to quantum information technology and spintronics. In paper 5 we study FSS in various laterally-arranged single quantum molecular structures (QMSs), including double QDs (DQDs), quantum rings (QRs), and QD-clusters (QCs), by means of polarization resolved μ-PL spectroscopy. It is found that FSS strongly depends on the geometric arrangements of the QMSs, which can effectively tune the degree of asymmetry in the lateral confinement potential of the excitons and can reduce FSS even in a strained QD system to a limit similar to strain-free QDs.
Fabrication of nanostructured ZnO-based devices involves, as a compulsory step, deposition of thin metallic layers. In paper 6 we investigate impact of metallization by Ni on structural quality of ZnO NWs by means of Raman spectroscopy. We show that Ni coating of ZnO NWs causes passivation of surface states responsible for the enhanced intensity of the A1(LO) in the bare ZnO NWs. From the resonant Raman studies, strong enhancement of the multiline Raman signal involving A1(LO) in the ZnO/Ni NWs is revealed and is attributed to the combined effects of the Fröhlich interaction and plasmonic coupling. The latter effect is also suggested to allow detection of carbon-related species absorbed at the surface of a single ZnO/Ni NW, promising for utilizing such structures as efficient nano-sized gas sensors.
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2015. , 55 p.