Pressure-Induced Enhancement of Optical Properties in Indium Oxide Nanowires

Pengfei Shen, Douglas A. Blom, Sen Shao, Jinhyuk Choi, Thomas Vogt, Yanming Ma, Lin Wang, Yongjae Lee

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Tuning of physical properties opens up opportunities for new applications of known materials, as the changes induced by hydrostatic pressures can sometimes be mimicked by chemical pressures created by appropriate substitutions or at the interfaces. In contrast to bulk In2O3, where photoluminescence (PL) is reduced by pressure, pressure-induced photoluminescence enhancement (PIPE) by a factor of 4.4 was found in In2O3 nanowires (NWs). Density functional theory (DFT) calculations indicate that PIPE in NWs may be ascribed to the orbital overlap between oxygen-induced defect levels and the conduction band minimum (CBM), which does not occur in bulk In2O3. Both the PL intensity and absorption spectra of In2O3 NWs point to a discontinuity near 16 GPa. Rietveld refinements indicate that these changes in optical properties are concomitant with structural distortions, leading to strained bonds in the InO6 octahedra and trigonal prisms. The optical transmittance (T) of the NWs after compression up to 5.29 GPa is reversible after the pressure release. However, NWs compressed to 12.27 GPa and then reinvestigated at ambient pressure reveal that T increases. At compressions of up to 24.85 GPa, T at ambient conditions was enhanced by 8.29%. Synchrotron X-ray scattering and Raman spectra of NWs compressed to 24.85 GPa indicate that a local distortion of the cubic bixbyite structure is present at ambient conditions. This study establishes a correlation between changes in PL and T of In2O3 NWs and local structural distortions resulting in oxygen-induced defects, which overlap with the conduction band states as suggested by DFT calculations. Our work suggests that the optical properties of ternary metallic oxide NWs with bixbyite structure might be improved by appropriate substitutions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10244-10251
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry C
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 2020 May 7

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Leader Researcher program (2018R1A3B1052042) of the Korean Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT). We also thank the support by 2019K1A3A7A09033395 and NRF-2016K1A4A3914691 grants. D.A.B. and T.V. thank the VPR at the University of South Carolina for support operating the JEOL-2100F STEM. Experiments using X-ray synchrotron radiation were supported by Pohang Accelerator Laboratory (PAL) and Shanghai Synchrotron Radiation Facility (SSRF).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 American Chemical Society.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Energy(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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