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Journal of Nanotechnology
Volume 2013, Article ID 736478, 9 pages
Research Article

Improving Passivation Process of Si Nanocrystals Embedded in SiO2 Using Metal Ion Implantation

Instituto de Física, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 04510 México, DF, Mexico

Received 30 October 2012; Accepted 16 December 2012

Academic Editor: A. M. Rao

Copyright © 2013 Jhovani Bornacelli 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.


We studied the photoluminescence (PL) of Si nanocrystals (Si-NCs) embedded in SiO2 obtained by ion implantation at MeV energy. The Si-NCs are formed at high depth (1-2 μm) inside the SiO2 achieving a robust and better protected system. After metal ion implantation (Ag or Au), and a subsequent thermal annealing at 600°C under hydrogen-containing atmosphere, the PL signal exhibits a noticeable increase. The ion metal implantation was done at energies such that its distribution inside the silica does not overlap with the previously implanted Si ion . Under proper annealing Ag or Au nanoparticles (NPs) could be nucleated, and the PL signal from Si-NCs could increase due to plasmonic interactions. However, the ion-metal-implantation-induced damage can enhance the amount of hydrogen, or nitrogen, that diffuses into the SiO2 matrix. As a result, the surface defects on Si-NCs can be better passivated, and consequently, the PL of the system is intensified. We have selected different atmospheres (air, H2/N2 and Ar) to study the relevance of these annealing gases on the final PL from Si-NCs after metal ion implantation. Studies of PL and time-resolved PL indicate that passivation process of surface defects on Si-NCs is more effective when it is assisted by ion metal implantation.