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. 2015 Jun 10;15(6):3885-93.
doi: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.5b00708. Epub 2015 May 29.

Phonon Engineering in Isotopically Disordered Silicon Nanowires


Phonon Engineering in Isotopically Disordered Silicon Nanowires

S Mukherjee et al. Nano Lett. .


The introduction of stable isotopes in the fabrication of semiconductor nanowires provides an additional degree of freedom to manipulate their basic properties, design an entirely new class of devices, and highlight subtle but important nanoscale and quantum phenomena. With this perspective, we report on phonon engineering in metal-catalyzed silicon nanowires with tailor-made isotopic compositions grown using isotopically enriched silane precursors (28)SiH4, (29)SiH4, and (30)SiH4 with purity better than 99.9%. More specifically, isotopically mixed nanowires (28)Si(x)(30)Si(1-x) with a composition close to the highest mass disorder (x ∼ 0.5) were investigated. The effect of mass disorder on the phonon behavior was elucidated and compared to that in isotopically pure (29)Si nanowires having a similar reduced mass. We found that the disorder-induced enhancement in phonon scattering in isotopically mixed nanowires is unexpectedly much more significant than in bulk crystals of close isotopic compositions. This effect is explained by a nonuniform distribution of (28)Si and (30)Si isotopes in the grown isotopically mixed nanowires with local compositions ranging from x = ∼0.25 to 0.70. Moreover, we also observed that upon heating, phonons in (28)Si(x)(30)Si(1-x) nanowires behave remarkably differently from those in (29)Si nanowires suggesting a reduced thermal conductivity induced by mass disorder. Using Raman nanothermometry, we found that the thermal conductivity of isotopically mixed (28)Si(x)(30)Si(1-x) nanowires is ∼30% lower than that of isotopically pure (29)Si nanowires in agreement with theoretical predictions.

Keywords: Nanowires; Raman spectroscopy; atom probe tomography; phonons; stable isotopes; thermal conductivity.

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