Korgel Group Brightens Future for Silicon

Brian Korgel stands in the middle of a few students as they look at a computer monitor in the labProfessor Brian Korgel and his research group have been featured on chemeurope.com for creating the first ordered arrays, or superlattices, of silicon nanocrystals, also known as quantum dots.  Their work could help utilize light-emitting properties of silicon to develop things like light-emitting diodes (LEDs) or possible lasers.

Bulk silicon is one of the most commercially important semiconductors and is used in a wide range of applications, largely in the electronics. Unfortunately, it is a weak light absorber and poor light emitter, but these properties change when the crystal shrinks to nanoscale.

Korgel’s team has developed a new chemical method to generate tiny silicon crystals in the size needed for nanoscale properties, such as bright light emission. Past collections of silicon nanocrystals have been too polydisperse to order.

“Because the order in these arrangements can influence the properties of the nanomaterials, silicon quantum dot superlattices provide a new playground for understanding and manipulating the properties of silicon in new and unique ways,” Korgel said.

The group’s research was first presented in the journal ChemPhysChem November 22, 2012.



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