The first 25 years of semiconductor muonics at ISIS, modelling the electrical activity of hydrogen in inorganic semiconductors and high-κ dielectrics

Cox S. F. J., Lichti R. L., Lord J. S., Davis E. A., Vilao R. C., Gil J. M., ...More

Physica Scripta, vol.88, no.6, 2013 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 88 Issue: 6
  • Publication Date: 2013
  • Doi Number: 10.1088/0031-8949/88/06/068503
  • Journal Name: Physica Scripta
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes


Early muonium studies provided the very first atomistic pictures of interstitial hydrogen in semiconductors. By the time ISIS muons came on line, the main crystallographic sites, and the electronic structures for the neutral centres, were established in archetypal materials such as Si and GaAs. The results were quite unanticipated, and raised awareness of this deceptively simple defect system. This paper marks contributions to the subject made using ISIS muon beams, in the first 25 years of their operation since 1987. By this time, hydrogen was understood to be a significant and unavoidable impurity in all electronic grade material, and attention was turning to the interaction with charge carriers, revealing an equally unanticipated interplay of site and charge state. In particular, muonium spectroscopy now provides a model for hydrogen in dozens of materials where hydrogen itself is difficult or impossible to study directly, and is able to predict its effect on the electronic properties of new materials, such as those envisaged for optoeletronic or dielectric applications. Donor, acceptor and so-called pinning levels are known in a good many of these materials, revealing intriguing systematics and providing severe tests and challenges to current theory. Progress and prospects are summarized in this report, addressing the obvious questions such as 'why, how and what next?'