Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > New photonic crystals have both electronic and optical properties

Using an epitaxial approach, researchers developed a 3-D photonic crystal LED, the first such optoelectronic device. | Graphic by Eric Nelson
Using an epitaxial approach, researchers developed a 3-D photonic crystal LED, the first such optoelectronic device. | Graphic by Eric Nelson

Abstract:
In an advance that could open new avenues for solar cells, lasers, metamaterials and more, researchers at the University of Illinois have demonstrated the first optoelectronically active 3-D photonic crystal.

New photonic crystals have both electronic and optical properties

Champaign, IL | Posted on July 25th, 2011

"We've discovered a way to change the three-dimensional structure of a well-established semiconductor material to enable new optical properties while maintaining its very attractive electrical properties," said Paul Braun, a professor of materials science and engineering and of chemistry who led the research effort.

The team published its advance in the journal Nature Materials.

Photonic crystals are materials that can control or manipulate light in unexpected ways thanks to their unique physical structures. Photonic crystals can induce unusual phenomena and affect photon behavior in ways that traditional optical materials and devices can't. They are popular materials of study for applications in lasers, solar energy, LEDs, metamaterials and more.

However, previous attempts at making 3-D photonic crystals have resulted in devices that are only optically active that is, they can direct light but not electronically active, so they can't turn electricity to light or vice versa.

The Illinois team's photonic crystal has both properties.

"With our approach to fabricating photonic crystals, there's a lot of potential to optimize electronic and optical properties simultaneously," said Erik Nelson, a former graduate student in Braun's lab who now is a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard University. "It gives you the opportunity to control light in ways that are very unique to control the way it's emitted and absorbed or how it propagates."

To create a 3-D photonic crystal that is both electronically and optically active, the researchers started with a template of tiny spheres packed together. Then, they deposit gallium arsenide (GaAs), a widely used semiconductor, through the template, filling in the gaps between the spheres.

The GaAs grows as a single crystal from the bottom up, a process called epitaxy. Epitaxy is common in industry to create flat, two-dimensional films of single-crystal semiconductors, but Braun's group developed a way to apply it to an intricate three-dimensional structure.

"The key discovery here was that we grew single-crystal semiconductor through this complex template," said Braun, who also is affiliated with the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology and with the Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory at Illinois. "Gallium arsenide wants to grow as a film on the substrate from the bottom up, but it runs into the template and goes around it. It's almost as though the template is filling up with water. As long as you keep growing GaAs, it keeps filling the template from the bottom up until you reach the top surface."

The epitaxial approach eliminates many of the defects introduced by top-down fabrication methods, a popular pathway for creating 3-D photonic structures. Another advantage is the ease of creating layered heterostructures. For example, a quantum well layer could be introduced into the photonic crystal by partially filling the template with GaAs and then briefly switching the vapor stream to another material.

Once the template is full, the researchers remove the spheres, leaving a complex, porous 3-D structure of single-crystal semiconductor. Then they coat the entire structure with a very thin layer of a semiconductor with a wider bandgap to improve performance and prevent surface recombination.

To test their technique, the group built a 3-D photonic crystal LED the first such working device.

Now, Braun's group is working to optimize the structure for specific applications. The LED demonstrates that the concept produces functional devices, but by tweaking the structure or using other semiconductor materials, researchers can improve solar collection or target specific wavelengths for metamaterials applications or low-threshold lasers.

"From this point on, it's a matter of changing the device geometry to achieve whatever properties you want," Nelson said. It really opens up a whole new area of research into extremely efficient or novel energy devices.

The U.S. Department of Energy and the Army Research Office supported this work. Other Illinois faculty involved in the project are electrical and computer engineering professors James Coleman and Xiuling Li, and materials science and engineering professor John Rogers.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Liz Ahlberg
Physical Sciences Editor
217-244-1073


Paul Braun
217-244-7293

Copyright © University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

The School of Materials at the University of Manchester utilise Deben’s mechanical stages to characterise structure and behaviour at the micro- and nano- scale July 25th, 2017

Shining rings: A new material emits white light when exposed to electricity: New synthetic approach could spark development of other dynamic materials July 24th, 2017

Ultrathin device harvests electricity from human motion July 23rd, 2017

The July 23 close fly-by of asteroid 2017 BS5 is explored in a Q&A with Dr. John S. Lewis, chief scientist at Deep Space Industries July 23rd, 2017

Display technology/LEDs/SS Lighting/OLEDs

Nanoparticles could spur better LEDs, invisibility cloaks July 19th, 2017

Cambridge Nanotherm partners with Inabata for global sales and distribution June 20th, 2017

Leti Will Demo World’s-first WVGA 10-µm Pitch GaN Microdisplays for Augmented Reality Video at Display Week in Los Angles: Invited Paper also Will Present Leti’s Success with New Augmented Reality Technology That Reduces Pixel Pitch to Less than 5 Microns May 22nd, 2017

CCNY physicists demonstrate photonic hypercrystals for control of light-matter interaction May 5th, 2017

Discoveries

Shining rings: A new material emits white light when exposed to electricity: New synthetic approach could spark development of other dynamic materials July 24th, 2017

Scientists announce the quest for high-index materials: All-dielectric nanophotonics: The quest for better materials and fabrication techniques July 22nd, 2017

Pulses of electrons manipulate nanomagnets and store information: Scientists use electron pulses to create and manipulate nanoscale magnetic excitations that can store data July 21st, 2017

Semiliquid chains pulled out of a sea of microparticles July 20th, 2017

Materials/Metamaterials

Shining rings: A new material emits white light when exposed to electricity: New synthetic approach could spark development of other dynamic materials July 24th, 2017

Carbon displays quantum effects July 13th, 2017

Meniscus-assisted technique produces high efficiency perovskite PV films July 7th, 2017

ANU invention may help to protect astronauts from radiation in space July 3rd, 2017

Announcements

The School of Materials at the University of Manchester utilise Deben’s mechanical stages to characterise structure and behaviour at the micro- and nano- scale July 25th, 2017

Shining rings: A new material emits white light when exposed to electricity: New synthetic approach could spark development of other dynamic materials July 24th, 2017

Ultrathin device harvests electricity from human motion July 23rd, 2017

The July 23 close fly-by of asteroid 2017 BS5 is explored in a Q&A with Dr. John S. Lewis, chief scientist at Deep Space Industries July 23rd, 2017

Energy

'Upconverted' light has a bright future: Rice University professor developing plasmon-powered devices for medicine, security, solar cells July 17th, 2017

Making two out of one: FAU researchers have explained the mechanism behind a process that can increase the efficiency of organic solar cells July 12th, 2017

Argonne National Laboratory’s Continuous ALD Technology Licensed Exclusively to Forge Nano July 7th, 2017

Tiny bubbles provide tremendous propulsion in new microparticles research-Ben-Gurion U. June 21st, 2017

Photonics/Optics/Lasers

Scientists announce the quest for high-index materials: All-dielectric nanophotonics: The quest for better materials and fabrication techniques July 22nd, 2017

Nanoparticles could spur better LEDs, invisibility cloaks July 19th, 2017

'Upconverted' light has a bright future: Rice University professor developing plasmon-powered devices for medicine, security, solar cells July 17th, 2017

Researchers revolutionize vital conservation tool with use of gold nanotechnology and lasers: Cryopreservation study results have sweeping implications for wildlife conservation and human health July 15th, 2017

Solar/Photovoltaic

'Upconverted' light has a bright future: Rice University professor developing plasmon-powered devices for medicine, security, solar cells July 17th, 2017

Making two out of one: FAU researchers have explained the mechanism behind a process that can increase the efficiency of organic solar cells July 12th, 2017

Thinking thin brings new layering and thermal abilities to the semiconductor industry: In a breakthrough for the semiconductor industry, researchers demonstrate a new layer transfer technique called "controlled spalling" that creates many thin layers from a single gallium nitride July 11th, 2017

Tiny bubbles provide tremendous propulsion in new microparticles research-Ben-Gurion U. June 21st, 2017

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project