Tunneling conduction in dense silicon quantum dot/poly (methyl methacrylate) composites

D. Yu, R. W. Liptak, G. Aggarwal, A. J. Cheng, S. A. Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The conduction mechanism of organically passivated silicon quantum dots (SiQDs) embedded in Poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) has been investigated. This architecture forces the charge carriers onto the QDs, eliminating the need for charge transfer between the host matrix PMMA and the SiQDs. Octene was determined to be the shortest aliphatic ligand for electroluminescent films, as mixtures of 5:1 SiQDs:PMMA were readily synthesized without precipitation. At low fields, the current is limited by space charge effects with a weak temperature dependence which is believed to be due to the quantum dot size distribution. The lack of a temperature dependence on the current-voltage characteristics in the high voltage regime suggests that trap assisted tunneling is the primary conduction mechanism rather than transport through the PMMA. An analysis of the results suggests that the tunneling effective mass in PMMA is approximately 0.23mo. Thus, preparing SiQDs in a PMMA matrix may yield a recombination pathway for generated excitons allowing for the creation of efficient light emitting devices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)261-266
Number of pages6
JournalThin Solid Films
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by NSF under MRSEC Grant No. DMR-0819885 and was performed at the Minnesota NanoFabrication Center and which receives support from the NSF through NNIN . The authors also wish to acknowledge the contributions of the College of Science and Engineering Characterization Facility and particularly Dr. Ozan Ugurlu who performed the TEM imaging.


  • Keywords
  • Poly(methyl methacrylate)
  • Quantum Dots
  • Silicon
  • Transport


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