A Systematic Investigation of Quantum Confinement Effects in Bismuth Nanowire Arrays
Riley, James R. “A Systematic Investigation of Quantum Confinement Effects in Bismuth Nanowire Arrays”, Boston College, 2009. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/693.
Bismuth is an interesting element to study because the low effective mass of its charge carriers makes the material sensitive to quantum confinement effects. When bismuth is reduced to the nanoscale two interesting phenomena may occur: it may transition from a semimetal to a semiconductor, or charge carriers in special surface states may begin to dominate the behavior of the material. Arrays of bismuth nanowires of various diameters were studied to investigate these possibilities. The magnetoresistance of the arrays was measured and the period of Shubnikov-de Haas oscillations suggested an increase in the effective mass and density of the material’s charge carriers for small nanowire diameters. These increases suggested that electrons were present in surface states and strongly influenced the material’s behavior when its dimensions were sufficiently reduced. The magnetization of the nanowire arrays was also measured and the lack of de Haas-van Alphen oscillations for certain diameter nanowires suggested that electrons were not present in surface states and that instead the material was transitioning from a semimetal to a semiconductor. Heat capacity measurements were planned to reconcile the two experiments. My detailed calculations demonstrated that heat capacity measurements were feasible to determine the presence, or absence, of surface charge carriers. Because the electronic contribution to the material’s heat capacity is small a calorimeter platform was constructed with ultra-low heat capacity components.