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Tunable Visible and Near-IR Emission from Sub-10 nm Etched Single-Crystal Si Nano-Pillars
The field of silicon light emission is a rapidly growing area of inquiry and is uniquely important due to the dependence on silicon in the modern microelectronics industry. In order to economically create optical interconnects and circuit elements, the development of a complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS)–compatible light emitter is critical. To that end, we report visible and near-IR photoluminescence from sub-10 nm silicon nano-pillars. These pillars were plasma etched from single crystal Si wafers and thinned by utilizing strain-induced, self-terminating oxidation of cylindrical structures. Photoluminescence, lifetime and transmission electron microscopy were performed to measure the dimensions and emission characteristics of the pillars. The peak photoluminescence energy was found to be narrow band and blue shift with decreasing pillar diameter in accordance with a strain modified quantum confinement effect. The blue shift was quantified using a tight-binding method simulation that incorporated the tensile strain on the silicon pillar core induced by the thermal oxidation process. These pillars show promise as possible CMOS compatible silicon devices in the form of LED or laser structures.