Effects of strain on phonon interactions and phase nucleation in several semiconductor and nano particle systems
Tallman, Robert E.
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Raman scattering is utilized to explore the effects of applied pressure and strain on anharmonic phonon interactions and nucleation of structural transitions in several bulk and nanoparticle semiconductor systems. The systems investigated are bulk ZnS and ZnSe in several isotopic compositions, InP/CdS core/shell nanoparticles exhibiting confined and surface optical Raman modes, and amorphous selenium films undergoing photo-induced crystallization. The anharmonic decay of long-wavelength optical modes into two-phonon acoustic combinations modes is studied in 64 Zn 32 S, 64 Zn 34 S, nat Z nat S bulk crystals by measuring the TO(Γ) Raman line-shape as a function of applied hydrostatic pressure. The experiments are carried out at room temperature and 16K for pressures up to 150 kbars using diamond-anvil cells. The most striking effects occur in 68 Zn 32 S where the TO(Γ) peak narrows by a factor of 10 and increases in intensity at pressures for which the TO(Γ) frequency has been tuned into a gap in the two-phonon density of states (DOS). In all the isotopic compositions, the observed phonon decay processes can be adequately explained by a second order perturbation treatment of the anharmonic coupling between TO(Γ) and TA + LA combinations at various critical points, combined with an adiabatic bond-charge model for the phonon DOS and the known mode Gruneisen parameters. Bulk ZnSe crystals exhibit very different behavior. Here we find that anharmonic decay alone can not explain the excessive (∼ 60 cm -1 ) broadening in the TO(Γ) Raman peak observed as the pressure approaches to within 50kbar of the ZB -> B1 phase transition (at P ∼ 137 kbar). Rather the broadening appears to arise from antecedent nucleation of structural changes within nanoscopic domains, with the mechanism for line-shape changes being mode mixing via localization and disorder instead of anharmonicity. To sort out these contributions, pressure experiments on natural ZnSe and on isotopically pure 68 Zn 76 Se are compared. Again we use an appropriate bond-charge model to obtain the phonon DOS. It is concluded that the antecedent nucleation mechanism is much more important in ZnSe than in ZnS. In order to further investigate interactions of vibrational modes in spatially confined systems, pressure-Raman experiments are carried out on InP/CdS core/shell nanoparticles. This system differs from most other core/shell nanoparticles systems, in that the near degeneracy of the bulk InP TO(&Gamma;) and CdS LO(&Gamma;) phonons leads to possible cross-interface mode coupling. Different confined and surface (or interface) optical modes are studied as a function of pressure up 65 kbar at 373 and 230 K. The results are compared with the predictions of dielectric continuum theory using a phenomenological macroscopic approach (PMA) to include the pressure dependence. Three different pressure media are employed, and the effects on the surface modes of their different static dielectric constants are investigated. The pressure-shifts of the observed confined and surface modes are well accounted for without the need to include cross-interface coupling. We conclude that the conventional boundary condition, of vanishing phonon amplitude at the heterointerface, remains valid in the InP/CdS nanoparticle system, in spite of the near degeneracy of the bulk optical phonons. Photo-induced crystallization in amorphous selenium (a-Se) was also explored in this dissertation, as another example of a nanoscopic nucleation process influenced by strain, in this case internal strain. In order to observe photo-crystallization, the Raman spectra of commercial a-Se films used as targets in high-gain avalanche rushing photodetectors (HARP) cameras was studied at temperatures in the range 260 - 330 K. We find a rich temperature behavior that reflects the competition of changes in viscosity and strain, and defines four distinct regimes. These results are in qualitative accord with a theory by R.B.Stephens treating the effects of local strain on the secondary growth of crystalline nuclei in a-Se. We were able to conclude that the growth of trigonal selenium is driven by local strain, and that the relaxation of this strain field around the glass transition temperature suppresses crystalline growth until thermally assisted processes accelerate the photo-crystallization at higher temperatures. The observed nucleation kinetics was also found to be relevant to understanding the formation of blemishes in the output images of advanced HARP video cameras.