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Cryogen-free scanning confocal microscopy for direct-correlation between structure and function.

Applicant Fontcuberta i Morral Anna
Number 144954
Funding scheme R'EQUIP
Research institution Laboratoire des matériaux semiconducteurs EPFL - STI - IMX - LMSC
Institution of higher education EPF Lausanne - EPFL
Main discipline Material Sciences
Start/End 01.05.2013 - 30.04.2014
Approved amount 141'000.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Material Sciences
Condensed Matter Physics

Keywords (3)

structure-property relation; nanowires; optical spectroscopy

Lay Summary (French)

Microscope confocal pour la correlation directe entre les proprietés structurales et optiques des nanostructures.
Lay summary
Les nanostructures semiconductrices avec des tailles de l'ordre du nanomètre ont un grand interêt parce qu'elles peuvent avoir des proprietés que le même matériau en taille plus grande.  Ces nouvelles propriétés peuvent être utiles pour developer des nouvelles applications dans les domaines de l'énergie, l'électronique ou la santé.

Ici, nous allons installer une nouvelle experience pour investiguer les propriétés optiques des nanostructures et pouvoir les correler directement avec leur structure. Ceci va nous permetre de comprende des propriétés particulières liées aux défauts et/ou nouvelles phases cristallographiques. Cet instrument peut travailler à des temperatures si basses que 4.2K, et ceci est obtenu grâce à la liquefaction de l'helium in situ.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 11.03.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants


Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Prof. J. Arbiol Spain (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel
Prof. Andras Kis Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel
Prof. H. Frauenrath Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
GDR Nanofils, pulse Talk given at a conference Nanofils de GaAs par MBE, propriétés et applications en photonique et photovoltaïque 27.10.2014 Toulouse, France Fontcuberta i Morral Anna;
2014 IEEE Photonics Society Summer Topics Meeting, Talk given at a conference III-V nanwowires for quantum photonics and next generation solar cells 14.07.2014 Montreal, Canada Fontcuberta i Morral Anna;
Spring meeting of the Materials Research Society Talk given at a conference III-V nanowire heterostructure for quantum photonics 21.04.2014 San Francisco, United States of America Fontcuberta i Morral Anna;

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
134506 Wiring quantum dots - phase separation inducing new functionality 01.08.2011 Project funding
157705 Earth Abundant Semiconductors for next generation Energy Harvesting, EASEH 01.02.2016 SNSF Consolidator Grants
163861 Advanced heterostructures based on III-V nanostructures for photonics on silicon 01.02.2016 Russia
137648 Direct doping of self-catalyzed III-V nanowires 01.01.2012 Project funding
139702 Innovative Hybrid Materials at the Nanoscale 01.02.2012 Marie Heim-Voegtlin grants
129775 Direct correlation between structure and optical properties of single nanowires 01.06.2010 Project funding


Semiconductor structures with nanoscale dimensions represent a wide and interdisciplinary field in basic and applied research. It fosters the exploration of new materials combinations and the discovery of novel functional properties of matter. We are particularly interested in semiconductor nanowires: filamentary crystals with a diameter of the order of few to tens of nanometers. Nanowires have opened up new avenues in areas such as optoelectronics, sensing and energy harvesting. The direct correlation between the structure and functional properties at the nanoscale has proven to be key for a deep understanding of materials engineering. This is especially important in the case of novel materials, as statistical variations within one sample can mislead the interpretation of local measurements, thereby delaying the progress in the field. In this project, we request funding for the purchase of a special instrument that will enable us to directly correlate different properties on the same nanoscale object (mostly nanowires, but not strictly). In particular, we ask for a scanning confocal microscope which will allow us to measure simultaneously the optical and electric properties of an individual nanoscale object with high spatial resolution from 4.2 to 300 K. Experiments will include photoluminescence, Raman spectroscopy and photoconductivity. Making use of dedicated markers, we will correlate the optical and electronic properties directly by transmission electron microscopy performed on one and the same nanowire or nanodevice. The new types of heterostructures we plan to study include: i) the combination of III-V semi-conductors with silicon within one and the same nanowire, ii) phase segregated quantum dots in a nanowire iii) crystal-phase engineered quantum dots, and iv) antimony-based alloys intro-duced into a GaAs or InAs nanowire. All these structures will be realized with a molecular beam epitaxy machine in our laboratory. In particular, we will avoid the usage of external metal catalyst to drive the nucleation and growth of nanowires. In this way, we will be able to attribute the measured properties exclusively to the heterostructures and not to impurities incorporated. Finally, we would like to add that the requested equipment will strengthen our current collabo-rations within EPFL. In particular, we will be able to better explore in detail the functional and structural properties of novel carbon and chalcogenide layered nano-materials synthetized in the laboratories of Prof. Frauenrath and Prof. Kis, respectively. As a consequence, we will ex-pand our possibilities in terms of characterization of nanoscale materials. Overall, this micro-scope we will allow us to achieve a leading position in the creation and characterization of nanodevices with novel functionality based on engineered semiconductor nanowires and be-yond.