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Gold solution for enhancing nanocrystal electrical conductance
Date:9/11/2009

duction of fuels is envisioned as an ideal energy source, and nanocrystals could be pivotal to the success of this vision. Electrical conductance in semiconductor nanocrystals is a critical element for both solar electricity and solar fuel technologies.

"Standard contacting procedures that deposit metal onto semiconductor nanocrystals directly, such as those used in commercial wafer-scale chip fabrication, cause alloying and chemical reactions at the metal-semiconductor interface," says Sheldon, who was the lead author on the Nano Letters paper. "This means that the finished electrical device is actually made of a different material than the starting nanocrystal."

Sheldon notes that while chemical treatments, such as etching off surfactant, have been shown to enhance the conductivity of thin film nanocrystal solids, these treatments will often alter the semiconductor's electrical properties, for example switching the material from n-type to p-type or altering the density of surface states. Furthermore, he says, previous studies have not explained why electrical conductance was enhanced, other than acknowledging the removal of surfactant coverage.

In this new study, Sheldon, Alivisatos and their co-authors used single nanostructure electrical measurements to make systematic comparisons between cadmium-selenide nanorods with and without gold tips. The solution-grown tipping process started with the addition of gold salt to a solution of toluene and cadmium-selenide nanorods, which resulted in gold metal being selectively deposited on the nanorod tips. A silicon wafer test chip was then dipped in this nanorod solution. After submersion, the evaporation of the toulene solvent oriented individual cadmium-selenide nanorods across pre-defined gold electrodes, which were fabricated through electron beam lithography. The results were gold-tipped cadmium-selenide heterostructure devices whose electrical conductance was characterized in a tw
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Contact: Lynn Yarris
lcyarris@lbl.gov
510-486-5375
DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert  

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