Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)




JR Dennison


This study measures the electron-induced luminescence (cathodoluminescence) for various samples of fused silica. With a band gap of ~8.9 eV, visible and near-IR (NIR) luminescence occurs only if there are states (localized defect or trap states) within the forbidden band gap for electrons to occupy. A model is presented based on the electronic band structure and defect density of states—used to explain electron transport in highly disordered insulating materials—which has been extended to describe the relative cathodoluminescent intensity and spectral bands as a function of incident beam energy and current density, sample temperatures, and emitted photon wavelength.

Tests were conducted on two types of disordered SiO2 samples, the first type containing two variations: (i) thin (~60 nm) coatings on reflective metal substrates, and (ii) ~80 μm thick bulk samples. Luminescence was measured using a visible range SLR CCD still camera, a VIS/NIR image-intensified video camera, a NIR video camera, and a UV/VIS spectrometer. Sample temperature was varied from ~295 K to 40 K. The results of these tests were fit with the proposed model using saturation dose rate and mean shallow trap energy as fitting parameters and are summarized below.

First, each incident energy has a corresponding penetration depth, or range, which determines the fraction of energy absorbed in the material. In the thinner samples, the range exceeds the thickness of the sample; therefore, the intensity decreases with increasing energy. However, for the thicker samples, the range is less than the sample thickness and the intensity increases linearly with incident energy.

Next, at low current densities, luminescent intensity is linearly proportional to incident current density through the dose rate. At very high current densities, saturation is observed.

Finally, the overall luminescent intensity increased exponentially as T decreased, until reaching an optimum temperature, where it falls off to zero (as the model predicts). The spectra show four distinct bands of emitted photon wavelengths, corresponding to four distinct energy distributions of defect states within the band gap, each behaving differently with temperature. The response of each band to temperature is indicative of the extent to which it is filled.

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