Imaging "invisible" dopant atoms in semiconductor nanocrystals

Aloysius A. Gunawan, K. Andre Mkhoyan, Andrew W. Wills, Malcolm G. Thomas, David J. Norris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Nanometer-scale semiconductors that contain a few intentionally added impurity atoms can provide new opportunities for controlling electronic properties. However, since the physics of these materials depends strongly on the exact arrangement of the impurities, or dopants, inside the structure, and many impurities of interest cannot be observed with currently available imaging techniques, new methods are needed to determine their location. We combine electron energy loss spectroscopy with annular dark-field scanning transmission electron microscopy (ADF-STEM) to image individual Mn impurities inside ZnSe nanocrystals. While Mn is invisible to conventional ADF-STEM in this host, our experiments and detailed simulations show consistent detection of Mn. Thus, a general path is demonstrated for atomic-scale imaging and identification of individual dopants in a variety of semiconductor nanostructures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5553-5557
Number of pages5
JournalNano letters
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 14 2011


  • Electron energy loss spectroscopy
  • annular dark-field scanning transmission electron microscopy
  • colloidal quantum dots
  • dopant imaging
  • semiconductor nanocrystals
  • solotronics


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