Light Emission from Silicon

Science  02 Apr 1993:
Vol. 260, Issue 5104, pp. 40-46
DOI: 10.1126/science.260.5104.40

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The possibility induction of light emission from silicon, an indirect bandgap material in which radiative transitions are unlikely, raises several interesting and technologically important possibilities, especially the fabrication of a truly integrated optoelectronic microchip. In this article, the natural considerations that constrain silicon from emitting light efficiently are examined, as are several engineered solutions to this limitation. These include intrinsic and alloy-induced luminescence; radiatively active impurities; quantum-confined structures, including zone folding and the recent developments in porous silicon; and a hybrid approach, the integration of direct bandgap materials onto silicon.