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Title: Hydrogen-bond Specific Materials Modification in Group IV Semiconductors

Executive summary Semiconductor dielectric crystals consist of two fundamental components: lattice atoms and electrons. The former component provides a crystalline structure that can be disrupted by various defects or the presence of an interface, or by transient oscillations known as phonons. The latter component produces an energetic structure that is responsible for the optical and electronic properties of the material, and can be perturbed by lattice defects or by photo-excitation. Over the period of this project, August 15, 1999 to March 31, 2015, a persistent theme has been the elucidation of the fundamental role of defects arising from the presence of radiation damage, impurities (in particular, hydrogen), localized strain or some combination of all three. As our research effort developed and evolved, we have experienced a few title changes, which reflected this evolution. Throughout the project, ultrafast lasers usually in a pump-probe configuration provided the ideal means to perturb and study semiconductor crystals by both forms of excitation, vibrational (phonon) and electronic (photon). Moreover, we have found in the course of this research that there are many interesting and relevant scientific questions that may be explored when phonon and photon excitations are controlled separately. Our early goals were to exploremore » the dynamics of bond-selective vibrational excitation of hydrogen from point defects and impurities in crystalline and amorphous solids, initiating an investigation into the behavior of hydrogen isotopes utilizing a variety of ultrafast characterization techniques, principally transient bleaching spectroscopy to experimentally obtain vibrational lifetimes. The initiative could be divided into three related areas: (a) investigation of the change in electronic structure of solids due to the presence of hydrogen defect centers, (b) dynamical studies of hydrogen in materials and (c) characterization and stability of metastable hydrogen impurity states under transient compression. This research focused on the characterization of photon and ion stimulated hydrogen related defect and impurity reactions and migration in solid state matter, which requires a detailed understanding of the rates and pathways of vibrational energy flow, of the transfer channels and of the coupling mechanisms between local vibrational modes (LVMs) and phonon bath as well as the electronic system of the host material. It should be stressed that researchers at Vanderbilt and William and Mary represented a unique group with a research focus and capabilities for low temperature creation and investigation of such material systems. Later in the program, we carried out a vigorous research effort addressing the roles of defects, interfaces, and dopants on the optical and electronic characteristics of semiconductor crystals, using phonon generation by means of ultrafast coherent acoustic phonon (CAP) spectroscopy, nonlinear characterization using second harmonic generation (SHG), and ultrafast pump-and-probe reflectivity and absorption measurements. This program featured research efforts from hydrogen defects in silicon alone to other forms of defects such as interfaces and dopant layers, as well as other important semiconducting systems. Even so, the emphasis remains on phenomena and processes far from equilibrium, such as hot electron effects and travelling localized phonon waves. This program relates directly to the mission of the Department of Energy. Knowledge of the rates and pathways of vibrational energy flow in condensed matter is critical for understanding dynamical processes in solids including electronically, optically and thermally stimulated defect and impurity reactions and migration. The ability to directly probe these pathways and rates allows tests of theory and scaling laws at new levels of precision. Hydrogen embedded in model crystalline semiconductors and metal oxides is of particular interest, since the associated local mode can be excited cleanly, and is usually well-separated in energy from the phonon bath. These basic dynamical studies have provided new insights for example into the fundamental mechanisms that control proton diffusion in these oxides. This area of materials science has largely fulfilled its promise to identify degradation mechanisms in electronic and optoelectronic devices, and to advance solid oxide proton conductors for fuel cells, gas sensors and proton-exchange membrane applications. It also provides the basis for innovations in materials synthesis involving atomic-selective diffusion and desorption.« less
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [2]
  1. Vanderbilt Univ., Nashville, TN (United States)
  2. College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA (United States)
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DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Vanderbilt Univ., Nashville, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Country of Publication:
United States