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Quantification of Free-Carrier Absorption in Silicon Nanocrystals with an Optical Microcavity

Geballe Laboratory of Advanced Materials, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA.
Nano Letters (Impact Factor: 12.94). 11/2008; 8(11):3787-93. DOI: 10.1021/nl8021016
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT We present a highly sensitive and accurate microcavity-based technique to quantify the free-carrier absorption (FCA) cross-section of semiconductor quantum-dot ensembles. The procedure is based on measuring the pump-intensity-dependent broadening of the whispering gallery modes (WGMs) of microdisk resonators. We have applied this technique to determine the FCA cross-section of Si nanocrystals (Si-ncs) in the visible-near-infrared wavelength range. Our procedure accounts for the size distribution effects by including the measured wavelength dependence of the excitation cross-section and the decay rate of photoexcited carriers in the analysis. By monitoring the WGM widths at various wavelengths in the 700-900 nm wavelength range, we found that the FCA cross-section follows an approximately quadratic wavelength dependence. The magnitude of the FCA cross-section of Si nanocrystals was determined to be a factor of 7 higher than that in bulk Si. For this reason, these findings have important implications for the design of Si-based lasers and all-optical switching devices in which FCA plays a critical role.

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