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International Journal of Photoenergy
Volume 2012, Article ID 872576, 21 pages
Review Article

Silicon Nanoscale Materials: From Theoretical Simulations to Photonic Applications

1Department of Chemistry, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 55, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
2Dipartimento di Scienze e Metodi dell'Ingegneria, Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Via Amendola, 2 Pad. Morselli, 42122 Reggio nell'Emilia, Italy
3MATIS IMM CNR, Via Santa Sofia 64, 95123 Catania, Italy
4CIMAP, CNRS/CEA/ENSICAEN/UCBN, 6 boulevard Maréchal Juin, 14050 Caen Cedex 4, France

Received 18 December 2011; Revised 13 March 2012; Accepted 13 March 2012

Academic Editor: David Lee Phillips

Copyright © 2012 Leonid Khriachtchev et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The combination of photonics and silicon technology is a great challenge because of the potentiality of coupling electronics and optical functions on a single chip. Silicon nanocrystals are promising in various areas of photonics especially for light-emitting functionality and for photovoltaic cells. This review describes the recent achievements and remaining challenges of Si photonics with emphasis on the perspectives of Si nanoscale materials. Many of the results and properties can be simulated and understood based on theoretical studies. However, some of the key questions like the light-emitting mechanism are subjects of intense debates despite a remarkable progress in the recent years. Even more complex and important is to move the known experimental observations towards practical applications. The demonstrated devices and approaches are often too complex and/or have too low efficiency. However, the challenge to combine optical and electrical functions on a chip is very strong, and we expect more research activity in the field of Si nanophotonics in the future.