Journal of Nanoparticle Research

, Volume 12, Issue 8, pp 2907–2917 | Cite as

Quenching of porous silicon photoluminescence by molecular oxygen and dependence of this phenomenon on storing media and method of preparation of pSi photosensitizer

Research Paper


The quenching of porous silicon photoluminescence (pSi PL) by molecular oxygen has been studied in different storing media in an attempt to clarify the mechanism of the energy transfer from the silicon photosensitizer to the oxygen acceptor. Luminescent materials have been prepared by two methods: electrochemical anodizing and chemical etching. Different structural forms were used: porous layers on silicon wafer and two kinds of differently prepared powder. Dry air and liquid water were employed as storing media; quenching behaviour was under observation until total degradation of quenching properties. Singlet oxygen molecules generation through energy transfer from photoluminescent pSi was the only photosensitizing mechanism observed under dry gas conditions. This PL quenching process was preferentially developed at 760 nm (1.63 eV) that corresponds to the formation of the 1Σ singlet oxygen state. Oxidation of the pSi photosensitizer was the main factor that led to its total deactivation in a time scale of few weeks. Regarding water medium, different photosensitizing behaviour was observed. In watery conditions, two preferred energy levels were found: the one detected in dry gas and another centred at approximately 2.2 eV (550 nm). Formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) different from singlet oxygen, such as superoxide anion or superoxide radical, can be responsible for the second one. This second quenching process developed gradually after the initial contact of pSi photosensitizer with water and then degraded. The process lasted only several hours. Therefore, functionalization of the pSi photosensitizer is probably required to stabilize its PL and quenching properties in the watery physiological conditions required for biomedical applications.


Porous silicon Si nanocrystals Ageing Oxidation Dissolution Photoluminescence Quenching Energy transfer Singlet oxygen Reactive oxygen species Sensors 



This work is a part of the project PSY-NANO-Si (NMP4-CT-2004-013875) financed by the European Community and co-financed by Ministry of Education and Science of Spain (MAT2006-27447E) and Valencian Community (ACOMP/2007/209). The authors acknowledge the fruitful discussions with Dr. V. Chirvony and are thankful to Dr. L. Bychto and Dr. E. Pastor for samples preparation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nanophotonics Technology CenterTechnical University of ValenciaValenciaSpain
  2. 2.EM-Silicon Nano-Technologies, S.L.PaternaSpain
  3. 3.Instituto de Tecnología Química (UPV-CSIC)ValenciaSpain

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