Project description: In electronic devices, electrons with significantly more energy than the background are termed ‘hot’. They are critical in photovoltaic solar cells, contribute to leakage inside transistors and may damage devices. With very short lifetimes of typically hundreds of femtoseconds, they are experimentally difficult to study.
To solve this, we have developed a technique where indicator molecules deposited on surfaces can be used to chart the path of the hot electrons. By measuring the modified indicator molecules using the scanning tunnelling microscope (STM) we can determine the transport properties of the hot electrons through the surface of the material. Our work using this technique has included several papers in Nature and Nature Communications.[1-3] More recent work is in press.
In this project we propose to extend our technique to study the flow of hot electrons along various types of nanowires and look at coupling of, and transport between, nanowires and surfaces. A collaboration between Prof Richard Palmer and Dr Richard Cobley, the project will include sample preparation within our device cleanroom, experiment design and development work, and measurement using our ultra high vacuum scanning probe systems, including a 4-probe cryo Nanoprobe STM.