Article

Dysprosium-doped cadmium oxide as a gateway material for mid-infrared plasmonics

  • Nature Materials volume 14, pages 414420 (2015)
  • doi:10.1038/nmat4203
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Abstract

The interest in plasmonic technologies surrounds many emergent optoelectronic applications, such as plasmon lasers, transistors, sensors and information storage. Although plasmonic materials for ultraviolet–visible and near-infrared wavelengths have been found, the mid-infrared range remains a challenge to address: few known systems can achieve subwavelength optical confinement with low loss in this range. With a combination of experiments and ab initio modelling, here we demonstrate an extreme peak of electron mobility in Dy-doped CdO that is achieved through accurate ‘defect equilibrium engineering’. In so doing, we create a tunable plasmon host that satisfies the criteria for mid-infrared spectrum plasmonics, and overcomes the losses seen in conventional plasmonic materials. In particular, extrinsic doping pins the CdO Fermi level above the conduction band minimum and it increases the formation energy of native oxygen vacancies, thus reducing their populations by several orders of magnitude. The substitutional lattice strain induced by Dy doping is sufficiently small, allowing mobility values around 500 cm2 V−1 s−1 for carrier densities above 1020 cm−3. Our work shows that CdO:Dy is a model system for intrinsic and extrinsic manipulation of defects affecting electrical, optical and thermal properties, that oxide conductors are ideal candidates for plasmonic devices and that the defect engineering approach for property optimization is generally applicable to other conducting metal oxides.

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Acknowledgements

S.F. and J-P.M. gratefully acknowledge support of this work by NSF grant CHE-1112017. The NSF grant DMR-1151568 supported the DFT contributions. We would further like to acknowledge Efimenko and Genzer (NCSU, CBE) for granting us access to the IR-Ellipsometer. Sandia National Laboratories is a multi-programme laboratory managed and operated by Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation, for the US Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration under contract DE-AC04-94AL85000. The thermal conductivity measurements were supported by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research under AFOSR Award No. FA9550-14-1-0067 (Subaward No. 5010-UV-AFOSR-0067) and the ONR Young Investigator Program (N00014-13-4-0528). S.C. acknowledges the Duke Center for Materials Genomics and partial support by ONR (MURI N00014-13-1-0635).

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Department of Materials Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina 27695, USA

    • Edward Sachet
    • , Christopher T. Shelton
    • , Joshua S. Harris
    • , Benjamin E. Gaddy
    • , Douglas L. Irving
    •  & Jon-Paul Maria
  2. Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and Department of Electrical Engineering, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina 27708, USA

    • Stefano Curtarolo
  3. Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia 22904, USA

    • Brian F. Donovan
  4. Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia 22904, USA

    • Patrick E. Hopkins
  5. Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87185, USA

    • Peter A. Sharma
    • , Ana Lima Sharma
    •  & Jon Ihlefeld
  6. Department of Chemistry, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina 27695, USA

    • Stefan Franzen

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Contributions

E.S., S.F. and J-P.M. proposed the concept and experiments with support by S.C. C.T.S. and E.S. developed the MBE deposition and doping technique for the growth of CdO:Dy. E.S. led the experimental/analytical efforts with support from C.T.S., B.F.D., P.E.H., P.A.S., A.L.S. and J.I. The DFT simulations and analysis of theoretical results were performed by D.L.I., B.E.G. and J.S.H. All authors mentioned above discussed and contributed to the paper.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Stefano Curtarolo or Jon-Paul Maria.

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