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Liquid-Phase Deposition of Silicon Nanocrystal Films

University of Minnesota

DOE Grant Recipients

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Technology Marketing Summary

Silicon Nanocrystal Deposition

A method to deposit colloidal silicon nanocrystal thin films using a liquid-phase process has been developed. The method lowers costs because the films are deposited unfunctionalized (no insulating ligand termination). The process allows for precise control of the size of the crystals; giving rise to control over the size dependent optical properties of the product. This is essential in applications such as photovoltaic solar cells, photodetectors, light emitting diodes (LEDs), lasers and transistors where light emission and absorption can be tuned.


Plasma-Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition (PECVD) Alternative

Currently, deposition of silicon thin films is carried out in a high vacuum with plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD). This batch dependent technique limits throughput. The liquid-phase deposition process described can be used with established deposition techniques such as inkjet printing, screen-printing, contact printing, meyer rod printing and doctor blade casting. The process is low cost, low temperature and scalable. Liquid-phase deposited silicon nanocrystal thin films can be deposited on a variety of flexible and inexpensive substrates such as plastics and foils.



  • Lowcost, low temperature and scalable.
  • Continuous reel-to-reel manufacturing technology can be utilized for deposition.
  • Compatible with established deposition techniques such as inkjet printing and screen-printing.
  • Tunable silicon nanocrystal size allows for control of size-dependent optoelectric properties of the deposited film.
Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Patent 9,123,538
Silicon nanocrystal inks, films, and methods
Silicon nanocrystal inks and films, and methods of making and using silicon nanocrystal inks and films, are disclosed herein. In certain embodiments the nanocrystal inks and films include halide-terminated (e.g., chloride-terminated) and/or halide and hydrogen-terminated nanocrystals of silicon or alloys thereof. Silicon nanocrystal inks and films can be used, for example, to prepare semiconductor devices.
Los Alamos National Laboratory 09/01/2015
Technology Status
Development StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated

Contact GRANT About This Technology

To: Larry Micek<>