Weblike aggregates of coalesced Si nanocrystals are produced by a laser vaporization -controlled condensation technique. SEM micrographs show particles with ∼ 10 nm diameters but the Raman shift suggests the presence of particles as small as ∼ 4 nm. FTIR of the freshly prepared particles shows weak peaks due to the stretching, bending and rocking vibrations of the Si-O-Si bonds indicating the presence of a surface oxidized layer SiOx (x<2).
The particles show luminescence properties that are similar to those of porous Si and Si nanoparticles produced by other techniques. The nanoparticles do not luminesce unless, by exposure to air, they acquire the SiOx passivated coating. They show a short-lived blue emission characteristic of the SiO2 coating and a biexponential longer-lived red emission. The short lifetime component of the red emission, about 12 μs, does not depend on emission wavelength. The longer-lived component has a lifetime that ranges from 90 to over 130 μs (at 300 K), increasing with emission wavelength. The results are consistent with the quantum confinement mechanism as the source of the red photoluminescence.