Probe the properties of semiconductors with CL

Analyze important materials properties with cathodoluminescence imaging. Look into the defects of your semiconductors and make steps to improve their quality and performance.

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What we can help you with
  • Probe local band edge emission and local defect band emission

  • Analyze point defects and delocalized defects
  • Image dopant distribution and carrier diffusion 
  • Measure damage and strain in the material

Study semiconductors with cathodoluminescence

Cathodoluminescence (CL) imaging is a powerful technique for inspecting semiconductors. In particular, it is highly useful to study the optoelectronic properties of (compound) semiconductors. In CL the electron beam acts as a broad band excitation source, semiconductor materials can be studied from the deep UV till the IR spectral range. Moreover, the technique  is non-invasive/non-destructive, has nanoscale excitation resolution and the electron penetration depth is tunable, allowing you to perform depth-resolved studies and to image buried structures. 

Since cathodoluminescence imaging is done with a scanning electron microscope, fast scanning is possible, as well as the correlation with other SEM-based imaging modalities, such as SE, BSE, EDS, EBIC, and EBSD.  Cathodoluminescence can be successfully used for studying solid-state lighting and displays, for power electronics, photovoltaics, and laser diodes. It is commonly used for quality assurance and metrology, to perform failure and defect analysis, and to develop materials and devices. 

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What we can offer

FeatureIcon_CL_SVG_270x270_Analyse and Acquire data
Develop better materials and devices

Perform failure analysis and easily image the defects in your materials

FeatureIcon_CL_SVG_270x270_Imaging modes
Go beyond conventional CL imaging

Analyze directionality, dispersion, and polarization of emission

FeatureIcon_CL_SVG_270x270_Inspect data fast
Get insights faster

Study your samples with modular and sensitive cathodoluminescence detectors

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What results can I achieve with cathodoluminescence?

Cathodoluminescence intensity mapping is one of the imaging modes which can be used to study defects of semiconductors. In this mode, the sample is scanned with the electron beam and for every pixel, the CL is collected. This method is very fast (video-rate imaging is possible), which allows to quickly check the sample and decide what to image in more detail. Moreover, a large field of view can be collected, which is beneficial for imaging large semiconductor samples, such as wafers. Using this technique, you can easily image local defects such as threading dislocations in the material. This information is valuable for improving the fabrication process, for example. 

Hyperspectral imaging is useful for acquiring high-spectral resolution data for in-depth materials analysis for e.g. strain or compositional analysis. With angle-resolved imaging, it's possible to measure the directionality/dispersion of light. With time-resolved imaging, it's possible to study how the photons emitted from the source are distributed providing access to e.g. excited state lifetimes which can be connected to the optoelectronic properties of the semiconductor materials. 

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Image slider showing a hyperspectral false color RGB CL and corresponding SE image. The image shows the top of an InGaN microrod LED structure. Sample courtesy of J. Dühn and C. Tessarek (University of Bremen, MPI Erlangen). Also see J. Dühn et al. Phys. D: Appl. Phys. 51, 355102 (2018).
HZB Daniel Abou-Ras 380x380

SPARC Spectral is a powerful analysis system, which provides us with high-quality insight into the optoelectronic properties of material systems.

Priv.-Doz. Dr. Daniel Abou-Ras


Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin

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Get in touch with our applications specialist Sangeetha to get more information.

Call +31 (0)15 744 01 58 or book a meeting on her agenda.

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Delmic applications specialist Sangeetha Hari