Understanding semiconductor nanostructures via advanced electron microscopy and spectroscopy
Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) offers an ample range of complementary techniques which are able to provide essential information about the physical, chemical and structural properties of materials at the atomic scale, and hence makes a vast impact on our understanding of materials science, especially in the field of semiconductor one-dimensional (1D) nanostructures. Recent advancements in TEM instrumentation, in particular aberration correction and monochromation, have enabled pioneering experiments in complex nanostructure material systems. This review aims to address these understandings through the applications of the methodology for semiconductor nanostructures. It points out various electron microscopy techniques, in particular scanning TEM (STEM) imaging and spectroscopy techniques, with their already-employed or potential applications on 1D nanostructured semiconductors. We keep the main focus of the paper on the electronic and optoelectronic properties of such semiconductors, and avoid expanding it further. In the first part of the review, we give a brief introduction to each of the STEM-based techniques, without detailed elaboration, and mention the recent technological and conceptual developments which lead to novel characterization methodologies. For further reading, we refer the audience to a handful of papers in the literature. In the second part, we highlight the recent examples of application of the STEM methodology on the 1D nanostructure semiconductor materials, especially III-V, II-V, and group IV bare and heterostructure systems. The aim is to address the research questions on various physical properties and introduce solutions by choosing the appropriate technique that can answer the questions. Potential applications will also be discussed, the ones that have already been used for bulk and 2D materials, and have shown great potential and promise for 1D nanostructure semiconductors.
x-ray energy dispersive spectroscopy
electron energy loss spectroscopy
aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscopy