Ultrafast Optical Measurements of Acoustic Phonon Attenuation in Amorphous and Nanocrystalline Silicon


We have measured the attenuation of longitudinal acoustic waves in a series of amorphous and nanocrystalline silicon films using picosecond ultrasonics. We determined the attenuation of amorphous Si to be lower than what is predicted by theories based on anharmonic interactions of the ultrasound wave with localized phonons or extended resonant modes. We determined the attenuation of nanocrystalline Si to be nearly one order of magnitude higher than amorphous Si.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. 1.

    D.B. Hondongwa, B.C. Daly, T.B. Norris, B. Yan, J. Yang, and S. Guha, Phys. Rev. B 83, 121303R (2011).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    D.G. Cahill, M. Katiyar, and J.R. Abelson, Phys. Rev. B 50, 6077 (1994).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    B.L. Zink, R. Pietri, and F. Hellman, Phys. Rev. Lett. 96, 055902 (2006).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    J. Fabian and P.B. Allen, Phys. Rev. Lett. 82, 1478 (1999).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    P.B. Allen and J.L. Feldman, Phys. Rev. Lett. 62, 645 (1989).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    X. Liu, J.L. Feldman, D.G. Cahill, R.S. Crandall, N. Bernstein, D.M. Photiadis, M.J. Mehl, D.A. Papaconstantopolous, Phys. Rev. Lett. 102, 035901 (2009).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    H.S. Yang, D.G. Cahill, X. Liu, J.L. Feldman, R.S. Crandall, B.A. Sperling, and J.R. Abelson, Phys. Rev. B. 81, 104203 (2010).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    G. Yue, B. Yan, J. Yang, and S. Guha, Mater. Res. Soc. Symp. Proc. 989, 359 (2007).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    B. Yan, G. Yue, J. Yang, S. Guha, D. L. Williamson, D. Han, and C.-S. Jiang, Appl. Phys. Lett. 85, 1955 (2004).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    C. Thomsen, H.T. Grahn, H.J. Maris, and J. Tauc, Phys. Rev. B 34, 4132 (1986).

    Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    G.A. Antonelli, B. Perrin, B.C. Daly, and D.G. Cahill, MRS Bull. 31, 607 (2006).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    C.J. Morath and H.J. Maris, Phys. Rev. B. 54, 203 (1996).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, 78th Ed. CRC Press (1997).

  14. 14.

    D.L. Williamson, Sol. Energ. Mat. Sol. C. 78, 41 (2003).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    W. Senn, G. Winterling, and M. Grimsdtch, in Physics of Semiconductors 1978, Ed. B.L.H. Wilson, Institute of Physics London 1979 p.709.

    Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    A. Devos, M. Foret, S. Ayrinhac, P. Emery, and B. Rufflé, Phys. Rev. B 77, 100201(R) (2008).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    R.O. Pohl, X. Liu, and E. Thompson, Rev. Mod. Phys. 74, 991 (2002).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    B.C. Daly, K. Kang, Y. Wang, D.G. Cahill, Phys. Rev. B 80, 174112 (2009).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    J.-Y. Duquesne and B. Perrin, Phys. Rev. B 68, 134205 (2003).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    A. Akhieser, J. Phys. (USSR) 1, 277 (1939).

    Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    H. J. Maris, in Physical Acoustics, edited by W. P. Mason and R.N. Thurston (Academic, New York, 1971), Vol. 8.

    Google Scholar 

  22. 22.

    J. Fabian and P.B. Allen, Phys. Rev. Lett. 79, 1885 (1997).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  23. 23.

    A. A. Bulgakov, V. V. Tarakanov, and A. N. Chernets, Sov. Phys. Solid State 15, 1280 (1973).

    Google Scholar 

  24. 24.

    J.M. Gibson, M.M.J. Treacy, T. Sun, and N.J. Zaluzec, Phys. Rev. Lett. 105, 125504 (2010).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  25. 25.

    E. P. Papadakis, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 37, 703 (1965).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Joseph A. Andrade.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Andrade, J.A., Rachmilowitz, B.E., Daly, B.C. et al. Ultrafast Optical Measurements of Acoustic Phonon Attenuation in Amorphous and Nanocrystalline Silicon. MRS Online Proceedings Library 1536, 147–153 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1557/opl.2013.909

Download citation