The difficulty in patterning the structures at sub-wavelength range leads to employ the bottom-up approach to form nanostructures of metals as well as dielectric components that disperse them in host media. The optical properties of nanoparticles are studied with UV-Vis 750 (lambda) NIR spectroscopy and fit with empirical relations. The refractive index is about the volume fraction of particles. The AuGe nanoparticles demonstrate improved absorbance, lower refractive index, and higher extinction than Au nanoparticles formed with similar thermal process. Surface plasmon resonance (SPR) phenomena are highly sensitive to the bonding between atoms, atomic structure, and the electronic configuration in atoms of the given material. If one takes into account the structure of materials, then the literature on eutectic alloys predicts that alloying gold with germanium (AuGe) with varying compositions will also change the x-ray diffraction peak positions of gold itself. The peak shift can be interpreted as the change in grain size or shift in grain boundaries implying a corresponding change in material’s atomic arrangement within lattice structure. As a result, there will be a change in the charge distribution of free electron cloud in original gold ultimately affecting a change in the plasmon resonance frequency and thereby modulating the various optical phenomena such as absorbance, reflectance, and refractive index. This alloying also brings a change in the dielectric constant of the material such that the plasmonic behavior may shift among different regions (UV, visible, NIR, MWIR, and LWIR). Metal semiconductor eutectic alloy which is widely popular as a soldering material would have scope in futuristic photonic applications due to its tuneable optical properties. In this work, we study the effects of Au and AuGe nanoparticle deposition on GaAs films grown by molecular beam epitaxy (MBE). Au and AuGe thin films (12-nm thick) were annealed in the temperature ranges of 400–800 and 300–700 °C, respectively, to form Au and AuGe nanoparticles. The formation of these nanoparticles was confirmed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) measurements. Optical absorption spectroscopy measurements showed plasmon resonance peaks at around 670 and 535 nm for the AuGe-deposited 300 °C-annealed sample and Au-deposited 600 °C-annealed sample on sapphire, respectively, thereby confirming the plasmonic effect. Correlation of Raman spectroscopy measurement results with X-ray diffraction measurement results reveal that the transverse optical mode intensity and full width at half maximum of the GaAs (400) peak increased with an increase in annealing temperature, indicating degradation of the crystalline properties of GaAs film at higher annealing temperatures. The highest increments of the photoluminescence (PL) intensities in comparison to that of the bare GaAs film were observed to be 37 and 77% for the Au-deposited 600 °C-annealed and AuGe-deposited 300 °C-annealed samples, respectively. These enhancements of PL spectra are an indication of the significant scattering of photons by Au and AuGe nanoparticles, and they are attributed mainly to the contribution of the local surface plasmon resonance of these nanoparticles. A comparative analysis of PL enhancements revealed that AuGe nanoparticles induced a greater enhancement than Au nanoparticles. The calculated activation energies of the Au-deposited 600 °C-annealed sample, AuGe-deposited 300 °C-annealed sample, and bare GaAs sample were around 18, 24, and 33 meV, respectively. We found one-order increment in peak responsivity of AuGe plasmonic-based trilayer InAs quantum dot detector in comparison to as-grown detector at 80 K. Therefore, this study is expected to be very useful in the realization of high-performance plasmonic-based optoelectronic and sensing devices.
GaAs AuGe Au Nanoparticles Photoluminescence Scanning electron microscopy
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We are thankful to Prof. B. M. Arora (EE Department IIT Bombay) for directing us about suitable literature and Prof. Amartya Mukhopadhyay (MEMS), IIT Bombay, for his kind support of FIB tool. Finally, we would like to thank Riber France for the MBE system.
This study was supported by a grant from the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India (No. SB/S3/EECE/0106/2014). Partial funding was also received from the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Government of India, through the Centre of Excellence in Nanoelectronics, IIT Bombay.
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