Amorphous semiconductors are useful in many applications like solar cells, thin film displays, sensors, electrophotography, etc. The dissertation contains four projects. In the first three projects, semiconductor glasses which are a subset of amorphous semiconductors were studied. The last project is about exploring the strengths and constraints of two analysis programs which calculate the particle size information from experimental Small Angle X-ray Scattering data.
By definition, glasses have a random atomic arrangement with no order beyond the nearest neighbor, but strangely there exists an Intermediate Range Order (IRO). The origin of IRO is still not clearly understood, but various models have been proposed. The signature of IRO is the First Sharp Diffraction Peak(FSDP) observed in x-ray and neutron scattering data. The FSDP of TiO2 SiO2 glass photocatalyst with different Ti:Si ratio from SAXS data was measured to test the theoretical models. The experimental results along with its computer simulation results strongly supported one of two leading models. It was also found that the effect of doping IRO on TiO2 SiO2 is severe in mesoporous form than the bulk form.
Glass semiconductors in mesoporous form are very useful photocatalysts due to their large specific surface area. Solar energy conversion of photocatalysts greatly depends on their bandgap, but very few photocatalysts have the optical bandgap covering the whole visible region of solar spectrum leading to poor efficiency. A physical method was developed to manipulate the bandgap of mesoporous photocatalysts, by using the anisotropic thermal expansion and stressed glass network properties of mesoporous glasses. The anisotropic thermal expansion was established by S/WAXS characterization of mesoporous silica (MCM-41). The residual stress in the glass network of mesoporous glasses was already known for an earlier work. The new method was initially applied on mesoporous TiPO4, and the results were encouraging but inconclusive. Then the method was successfully demonstrated on mesoporous TiO2SiO2 by showing a shift in its optical bandgap.
One of the special class of amorphous semiconductors is chalcogenide glasses, which exhibit high ionic conductivity even at room temperature. When metal doped chalcogenide glasses are under an electric field, they become electronically conductive. These properties are exploited in the computer memory storage application of Conductive Bridging Random Access Memory (CBRAM). CBRAM is a non-volatile memory that is a strong contender to replace conventional volatile RAMs such as DRAM, SRAM, etc. This technology has already been commercialized, but the working mechanism is still not clearly understood especially the nature of the conductive bridge filament. In this project, the CBRAM memory cells are fabricated by thermal evaporation method with Agx(GeSe2) 1-x as the solid electrolyte layer, Ag as the active electrode and Au as the inert electrode. By careful use of cyclic voltammetry, the conductive filaments were grown on the surface and the bulk of the solid electrolyte. The comparison between the two filaments revealed major differences leading to contradiction with the existing working mechanism. After compiling all the results, a modified working mechanism is proposed.
SAXS is a powerful tool to characterize nanostructure of glasses. The analysis of the SAXS data to get useful information are usually performed by different programs. In this project, Irena and GIFT programs were compared by performing the analysis of the SAXS data of glass and glass ceramics samples. Irena was shown to be not suitable for the analysis of SAXS data that has a significant contribution from interparticle interactions. GIFT was demonstrated to be better suited for such analysis. Additionally, the results obtained by programs for samples with low interparticle interactions were shown to be consistent.