Solid-state junctions based on a metal-insulator-semiconductor (MIS) architecture are of great interest for a number of optoelectronic applications such as photovoltaics, photoelectrochemical cells, and photodetection. One major advantage of the MIS junction compared to the closely related metal-semiconductor junction, or Schottky junction, is that the thin insulating layer (1-3 nm thick) that separates the metal and semiconductor can significantly reduce the density of undesirable interfacial mid-gap states. The reduction in mid-gap states helps “un-pin” the junction, allowing for significantly higher built-in-voltages to be achieved. A second major advantage of the MIS junction is that the thin insulating layer can also protect the underlying semiconductor from corrosion in an electrochemical environment, making the MIS architecture well-suited for application in (photo)electrochemical applications.
In this presentation, discontinuous Si-based MIS junctions immersed in electrolyte are explored for use as i.) photoelectrodes for solar-water splitting in photoelectrochemical cells (PECs) and ii.) position-sensitive photodetectors. The development and optimization of MIS photoelectrodes for both of these applications relies heavily on understanding how processing of the thin SiO2 layer impacts the properties of nano- and micro-scale MIS junctions, as well as the interactions of the insulating layer with the electrolyte. In this work, we systematically explore the effects of insulator thickness, synthesis method, and chemical treatment on the photoelectrochemical and electrochemical properties of these MIS devices. It is shown that electrolyte-induced inversion plays a critical role in determining the charge carrier dynamics within the MIS photoelectrodes for both applications.
Daniel V. Esposito, "The role of ultra-thin SiO2 layers in metal-insulator-semiconductor (MIS) photoelectrochemical devices (Presentation Recording)," Proc. SPIE 9553, Low-Dimensional Materials and Devices, 95530P (Presented at SPIE Nanoscience + Engineering: August 13, 2015; Published: 5 October 2015); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2190513.4519371095001.
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