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Radially resolved electronic structure and charge carrier transport in silicon nanowires

: Fuchs, F.; Gemming, S.; Schuster, J.


Physica. E 108 (2019), S.181-186
ISSN: 1386-9477
Fraunhofer ENAS ()

The electronic structure of silicon nanowires is studied using density functional theory. A radially resolved density of states is discussed for different nanowire diameters and crystal orientations. This approach allows the investigation of spatially varying electronic properties in the radial direction and extends previous studies, which are usually driven by a one-dimensional band structure analysis. We demonstrate strong differences in the electronic structure between the surface and the center of the nanowire, indicating that the carrier transport will mainly take place in the center. For increasing diameters, the density of states in the center approaches the bulk density of states. We find that bulk properties, such as the indirect nature of the band gap, become significant at a nanowire diameter of approximately 5 nm and beyond. Finally, the spatial characteristic of the current is visualized in terms of transmission pathways on the atomic scale. Electron transport is found to be more localized in the nanowire center than the hole transport. It also depends on the crystal orientation of the wire. For the growing demand of silicon nanowires, for example in the field of sensors or field-effect transistors, multiple conclusions can be drawn from the present work, which we discuss towards the end of the publication.