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Search for High-Pressure Silicon Phases: Reaching the Extreme Conditions with High-Intensity Laser Irradiation...

Publication Type
Book Chapter
Publication Date
Page Numbers
471 to 494
Publisher Name
Springer Nature Switzerland AG
Publisher Location
Cham, Switzerland

Controlling electronic and optical properties of semiconducting materials could substantially expand their functionality and enable new pathways for the formation of ‘smart’ materials for emerging innovative applications. An emerging new path for the synthesis of exotic silicon (Si) polymorphs is irradiation of bulk diamond-cubic Si by ultrashort laser pulses at relativistic intensity above 1019 W/cm2. Exotic polymorphs are formed due to interaction with MeV-energy electrons generated in laser-produced high-temperature plasma state. The unusual Si structures are found in the form of 5–10 nm nanoparticles confined deep in the bulk of 500-μm-thick Si samples. Raman spectroscopy, electron microscopy and X-ray diffraction studies provide an unequivocal evidence of exotic Si phase formation. A key advantage of such relativistic irradiation lies thereby in the fact that large quantities of such exotic Si is synthesised embedded within the bulk diamond-cubic Si and that further the formed Si polymorphs are stable at ambient temperature and pressure. They are thus available for further studies for electronic applications in selective band gap engineering.