Removal of surface states and recovery of band-edge emission in InAs nanowires through surface passivation

M. H. Sun, H. J. Joyce, Q. Gao, H. H. Tan, C. Jagadish, Cun-Zheng Ning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations


Surface states in semiconductor nanowires (NWs) are detrimental to the NW optical and electronic properties and to their light emission-based applications, due to the large surface-to-volume ratio of NWs and the congregation of defects states near surfaces. In this paper, we demonstrated an effective approach to eliminate surface states in InAs NWs of zinc-blende (ZB) and wurtzite (WZ) structures and a dramatic recovery of band edge emission through surface passivation with organic sulfide octadecylthiol (ODT). Microphotoluminescence (PL) measurements were carried out before and after passivation to study the dominant recombination mechanisms and surface state densities of the NWs. For WZ-NWs, we show that the passivation removed the surface states and recovered the band-edge emission, leading to a factor of ∼19 reduction of PL linewidth. For ZB-NWs, the deep surface states were removed and the PL peaks width became as narrow as ∼250 nm with some remaining emission of near band-edge surface states. The passivated NWs showed excellent stability in atmosphere, water, and heat environments. In particular, no observable changes occurred in the PL features from the passivated NWs exposed in air for more than five months.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3378-3384
Number of pages7
JournalNano Letters
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 11 2012


  • InAs nanowire
  • octadecylthiol
  • photoluminescence
  • surface passivation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering


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