Strong enhancement of direct transition photoluminescence at room temperature for highly tensile-strained Ge decorated using 5 nm gold nanoparticles

Ghada Dushaq, Bruna Paredes, Mahmoud Rasras

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Strain engineering of germanium has recently attracted tremendous research interest. The primary goal of this approach is to exploit mechanical strain to tune the electrical and optical properties of Ge to ultimately achieve an on-chip light source compatible with silicon technology. Additionally, this can result in enhanced electrical performance for high-speed optoelectronic applications. In this paper, we demonstrate the formation of highly tensile-strained Ge islands grown on a pre-patterned (110) GaAs substrate using a depth controlled nanoindentation process. Results show that a biaxial tensile strain, up to ∼2%, can be transferred from the mechanically stamped substrate to Ge islands by optimizing the parameters of the nanoindentation process. We verified our measurements by observing the islands' photoluminescence (PL) emission properties. A strong emission at room-temperature was observed around the wavelength of 1.9 μm (650 meV). This strain-induced redshift of the PL spectra is consistent with theoretical predictions, revealing a direct Ge bandgap formation. Furthermore, we demonstrate a significant 6.5x enhancement in the PL emission signal of the direct-transition when the Ge islands are decorated by 5 nm gold nanoparticles. This is attributed to a longer optical path length interaction and a plasmonic induced high-field enhancement which increases the light absorption in the Ge islands. Furthermore, results show that GNPs can significantly modulate the energy band structure and the carrier's transportation at the nanoscale metal-germanium Schottky interface. This maskless physical approach can offer a pathway towards a practical CMOS-compatible integrated laser. Additionally, it opens possibilities for designing innovative optoelectronic devices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number315201
Issue number31
StatePublished - Jul 31 2020


  • Ge self-assembly
  • gold nano-particles (GNPs)
  • mechanical nano-stamping
  • nanoindentation
  • photoluminescence (PL)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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