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Journal of Nanotechnology
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 863184, 8 pages
Research Article

Enhancing Hydrogen Diffusion in Silica Matrix by Using Metal Ion Implantation to Improve the Emission Properties of Silicon Nanocrystals

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

Received 18 September 2013; Accepted 28 November 2013; Published 6 January 2014

Academic Editor: O. K. Tan

Copyright © 2014 J. 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.


Efficient silicon-based light emitters continue to be a challenge. A great effort has been made in photonics to modify silicon in order to enhance its light emission properties. In this aspect silicon nanocrystals (Si-NCs) have become the main building block of silicon photonic (modulators, waveguide, source, and detectors). In this work, we present an approach based on implantation of Ag (or Au) ions and a proper thermal annealing in order to improve the photoluminescence (PL) emission of Si-NCs embedded in SiO2. The Si-NCs are obtained by ion implantation at MeV energy and nucleated at high depth into the silica matrix (1-2 μm under surface). Once Si-NCs are formed inside the SiO2 we implant metal ions at energies that do not damage the Si-NCs. We have observed by, PL and time-resolved PL, that ion metal implantation and a subsequent thermal annealing in a hydrogen-containing atmosphere could significantly increase the emission properties of Si-NCs. Elastic Recoil Detection measurements show that the samples with an enhanced luminescence emission present a higher hydrogen concentration. This suggests that ion metal implantation enhances the hydrogen diffusion into silica matrix allowing a better passivation of surface defects on Si NCs.