JOURNAL OF NANOSCIENCE AND NANOTECHNOLOGY, vol.16, no.4, pp.4052-4064, 2016 (SCI-Expanded)
Si nanocrystals embedded in SiO2 matrix were prepared by co-sputtering method followed by a post annealing process in N-2 ambient. By fixing sputtering parameters, the effects of annealing time and annealing temperature on the optical properties of Si nanocrystals are investigated. Origin and evolution of the photoluminescence (PL) in weak quantum confinement regime are discussed in the light of X-ray diffraction, Fourier transform infrared, and temperature dependent photoluminescence measurements. For all samples, the PL peaks tend to decompose to four Gaussian peaks in which attributed to the radiative defects in SiO2 matrix, nc-Si/SiO2 interface related localized defects, localized states in the amorphous Si band gap and quantum confinement of excitons in smaller nanocrystals. Considering the observation of luminescence and its decomposition tendency in nanocrystals with average sizes larger than exciton's Bohr radius the necessity to distinguish between the role of smaller and larger nanocrystals in the PL mechanisms is discussed. Furthermore, possible origin of the interface related localized states in particular Si=O double bonds in the nc-Si/SiO2 interface and that of radiative defects in SiO2 matrix are discussed.