Physics at Virginia

"How many electrons make a semiconductor nanocrystal film metallic? "

Boris Shklovskii , Univ. Minnesota
[Host: Eugene Kolomeisky]

Films of semiconductor nanocrystals are used as a novel, low-cost electronic materials for optoelectronic devices. To achieve their full potential a better understanding of their conductivity as a function of concentration of donors is required. So far, it is not known how many donors will make a nanocrystal film metallic. In bulk semiconductors, the critical concentration of electrons at the metal-insulator transition is universally described by the famous Mott criterion. We show theoretically that in a dense NC film, where NCs touch each other by small facets with radius r << d, the critical concentration of electrons N at the metal-insulator transition satisfies the condition is given by N r^3 = 1.
This critical concentration is typically 100 times larger than the Mott one. In the accompanying experiments, we investigate the conduction mechanism in films of phosphorus-doped silicon nano-crystals. At the largest electron concentration achieved in our samples, which is half the predicted N, we find that the localization length of hopping electrons is close to three times the nano-crystals diameter, indicating that the film approaches the metal-insulator transition.

Friday, April 22, 2016
3:30 PM
Physics Building, Room 204
Note special room.

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