Synthesis and design of alternative plasmonic materials for core-multishell nanowire photonic devices
Hansen, Katherine E.
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One of the keys to successful commercialization of photonic devices is compatibility with complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor technology (CMOS), the major platform of the microelectronics industry. Silicon photonics, with plasmonic materials are promising candidates for next generation chip-scale technology. The majority of plasmonics research has focused on noble metals, which are not CMOS compatible. Transition metal nitrides are an emerging class of alternative plasmonic materials that are complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor compatible and have shown promising results when compared to devices utilizing noble metals. This dissertation highlights, a CMOS compatible method to produce such alternative plasmonic materials using atomic layer deposition (ALD), specifically ultrathin plasmonic titanium nitride, aluminum metal and zirconium nitride. A post-deposition hydrogen plasma treatment is also introduced to improve the metallic properties of the ultrathin films. Additionally, this dissertation proposes a core-multishell (CMS) nanowire (NW) device structure that utilizes these materials to enable the creation of photonic devices, specifically detailing designs for cloaking and photoelectrochemical (PEC) water splitting applications. It is shown theoretically that zirconium nitride cloaks a silicon nanowire without substantially compromising the absorption of light, resulting in a less-intrusive, better performing silicon nanowire photosensor, and outperforms a gold cloak in the wavelength region of 400-500 nm. It is demonstrated theoretically that emerging plasmonic materials TiN and ZrN are promising candidates to improve the ideal photocurrent density hematite photoanodes in core-multishell nanowire devices, allowing hematite to remain electrically thin enough to effectively transport charge carriers while absorbing light similar to thick hematite features.