Enhancing the light emission of GaAs nanowires by pressure-modulated charge transfer†
Strong non-radiative surface recombination in GaAs nanowires heavily blocks their applications as nanoscale optoelectronic devices. Pressure can effectively affect the surface recombination behaviors through tuning interactions between the surface of nanomaterials and the medium environment. Here, we report the pressure-induced light emission enhancement in GaAs nanowires via in situ high pressure photoluminescence measurements with nitrogen as the pressure transmitting medium. In the pressure range from 0 to 2.2 GPa, the photoluminescence intensity dramatically increases with increasing pressure. Above 2.2 GPa, the band gap transition from direct to indirect results in a sudden decrease in the photoluminescence intensity. Photoluminescence enhancement in GaAs nanowires also shows the pressure-dependent reversibility. The pressure-enhanced charge transfer effect between nitrogen molecules and the GaAs nanowire surface has been revealed according to first-principles calculations, which results in the reduction of surface states and the light-emission enhancement in GaAs NWs. Our study can provide a potential route for optimizing nanoscale functional devices.