Lund University

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Epitaxial growth and processing of III-V nanowires for solar and thermoelectric energy harvesting

Study of the epitaxial growth of III-V heterostructure nanowire - materials for energy harvesting/saving (photovoltaics, thermoelectricity and light-emitting diodes (LEDs)). Study of heterostructure interfaces and controlled axial and radial synthesis for full three-dimensional bottom-up design of nanowires with controlled conducting properties. Preparation of peel-off, polymer-embedded arrays of micrometer long nanowires for photovoltaics, thermoelectricity and LEDs. Development of processing for electrically contacting peeled-off nanowire arrays.


Zeng, X. L., R. T. Mourao, G. Otnes, O. Hultin, V. Dagyte, M. Heurlin and M. T. Borgstrom (2018):
Electrical and optical evaluation of n-type doping in InxGa(1-x)P nanowires, Nanotechnology 29(25)

Zeng, X. L., G. Otnes, M. Heurlin, R. T. Mouro and M. T. Borgstrom (2018):
InP/GaInP nanowire tunnel diodes, Nano Research 11(5): 2523-2531

Anttu, N., V. Dagyte, X. Zeng, G. Otnes and M. Borgstrom (2017):
Absorption and transmission of light in III-V nanowire arrays for tandem solar cell applications, Nanotechnology 28(20)

Otnes, G., M. Heurlin, X. L. Zeng and M. T. Borgstrom (2017):
InxGa1-xP Nanowire Growth Dynamics Strongly Affected by Doping Using Diethylzinc, Nano Letters 17(2): 702-707

Zhang, W., X. L. Zeng, X. J. Su, X. S. Zou, P. A. Mante, M. T. Borgstrom and A. Yartsev (2017):
Carrier Recombination Processes in Gallium Indium Phosphide Nanowires, Nano Letters 17(7): 4248-4254

Image: preparing epitaxially grown nanowire samples for scanning electron microscopy

Preparing samples for scanning electron microscopy - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

Epitaxial growth and processing of III-N (nitrides) nanowires for energy savings

Epitaxial growth and characterization of defect-free III-N (nitride) nanowire materials on Si and sapphire substrates. Development of ternary compound nitrides with intentional doping, and study of strain induced self-assembled quantum dot formation on the m-side facets of the nanowires. Development of large-area nano-imprint lithography for growth masks and pre-defined catalyst particle definition with required dimensions and pitch for photovoltaics, LED, and thermoelectric applications.


Khalilian, M., Z. Bi, J. Johansson, F. Lenrick, O. Hultin, J. Colvin, R. Timm, R. Wallenberg, J. Ohlsson, M. E. Pistol, A. Gustafsson and L. Samuelson:
Dislocation-Free and Atomically Flat GaN Hexagonal Microprisms for Device Applications, Small, 2020, 1907364

Thermoelectric properties of nanowire-based materials

Study and optimization of the recently discovered thermoelectric power-factor enhancement in single nanowires by quantum-dot like states in the nanowires, induced by externally or epitaxially defined nanostructuring along the nanowire length. Preparation of peel-off, polymer-embedded arrays of nanowires for both photovoltaic and thermoelectric applications, as well as thermoelectric characterization of polymer-nanowire hybrid structures.


Josefsson, M., A. Svilans, A. M. Burke, E. A. Hoffmann, S. Fahlvik, C. Thelander, M. Leijnse and H. Linke (2018):
A quantum-dot heat engine operating close to the thermodynamic efficiency limits, Nature Nanotechnology. DOI: 10.1038/s41565-018-0200-5

Svilans, A., A. M. Burke, S. F. Svensson, M. Leijnse and H. Linke (2016):
Nonlinear thermoelectric response due to energy-dependent transport properties of a quantum dot,  Physica E-Low-Dimensional Systems & Nanostructures 82: 34-38

Svilans, A., M. Leijnse and H. Linke (2016):
Experiments on the thermoelectric properties of quantum dots, Comptes Rendus Physique 17(10): 1096-1108


Optical and photonic properties of nanowire-based structures

Tasks and methodology: Photoluminescence and cathodoluminescence studies to probe the optical quality, the nanowire material properties, the nanowire alloy composition, and to assess high doping incorporation via optically detected state filling. Studies of the intrinsic properties of highly doped nanowires. Reflection and absorption spectroscopy as well as ellipsometry techniques to probe the light trapping and absorption efficiency in single nanowire and nanowire ensembles for photovoltaics, thermoelectricity and LED structures.


Dagyte, V., M. Heurlin, X. L. Zeng and M. T. Borgstrom (2018):
Growth kinetics of GaxIn(1-x)P nanowires using triethylgallium as Ga precursor Nanotechnology 29(39)

Dagyte, V., E. Barrigon, W. Zhang, X. L. Zeng, M. Heurlin, G. Otnes, N. Anttu and M. T. Borgstrom (2017):
Time-resolved photoluminescence characterization of GaAs nanowire arrays on native substrate, Nanotechnology 28(50)

Haggren, T., G. Otnes, R. Mourao, V. Dagyte, O. Hultin, F. Lindelow, M. Borgstrom and L. Samuelson (2016):
InP nanowire p-type doping via Zinc indiffusion, Journal of Crystal Growth 451,18-26

Lindelow, F., M. Heurlin, G. Otnes, V. Dagyte, D. Lindgren, O. Hultin, K. Storm, L. Samuelson and M. Borgstrom (2016):
Doping evaluation of InP nanowires for tandem junction solar cells, Nanotechnology 27(6)

Processing and electro-optical characterization of energy harvesting nanostructures

Electro-optical studies of material- and device-related properties (photovoltaics, LED). Evaluation of surface passivation and dielectric coating techniques for low surface recombination velocity with long-term irradiation stability. Device design and development of low resistive transparent front contacts to nanowires. Processing of single as well as ensembles of nanowire s in lateral and vertical geometry for nanowire characterization. Development of contact processing to ripped off nanowires. Studies of dynamics of carrier excitation and life-time, phonon response, field enhancement effects and transport processes within nanowires may also be included.


Chen, I. J., A. Burke, A. Svilans, H. Linke and C. Thelander (2018):
Thermoelectric Power Factor Limit of a 1D Nanowire, Physical Review Letters 120(17)

Chen, I. J., S. Lehmann, M. Nilsson, P. Kivisaari, H. Linke, K. A. Dick and C. Thelander (2017):
Conduction Band Offset and Polarization Effects in InAs Nanowire Polytype Junctions, Nano Letters 17(2): 902-908

Limpert, S., A. Burke, I. J. Chen, N. Anttu, S. Lehmann, S. Fahlvik, S. Bremner, G. Conibeer, C. Thelander, M. E. Pistol and H. Linke (2017):
Bipolar Photothermoelectric Effect Across Energy Filters in Single Nanowires, Nano Letters 17(7): 4055-4060

Mante, P. A., N. Anttu, W. Zhang, J. Wallentin, I. J. Chen, S. Lehmann, M. Heurlin, M. T. Borgstrom, M. E. Pistol and A. Yartsev (2016):
Confinement effects on Brillouin scattering in semiconductor nanowire photonic crystal, Physical Review B 94(2)

Nilsson, M., I. J. Chen, S. Lehmann, V. Maulerova, K. A. Dick and C. Thelander (2017):
Parallel-Coupled Quantum Dots in InAs Nanowires, Nano Letters 17(12): 7847-7852

Sun, R., D. Jacobsson, I. J. Chen, M. Nilsson, C. Thelander, S. Lehmann and K. A. Dick (2015)
Sn-Seeded GaAs Nanowires as Self-Assembled Radial p-n Junctions, Nano Letters 15(6): 3757-3762

Surface and materials characterization of nanowires, and molecular structures

Scanning-probe and synchrotron-based spectroscopy and microscopy to characterize nanowire surface chemistry/structure and its influence on the nanowire electronic structure. Tailor nanostructure surfaces to improve performance of photovoltaic and LED devices. The large surface to bulk ratio of nanowires implies that surfaces can play a very important role. Measurements will be performed both locally at Lund University, at the MAX-IV laboratory and at other synchrotrons.


McKibbin, S. R., J. Colvin, A. Troian, J. V. Knutsson, J. L. Webb, G. Otnes, K. Dirscherl, H. Sezen, M. Amati, L. Gregoratti, M. T. Borgstrom, A. Mikkelsen and R. Timm (2020):
Operando Surface Characterization of InP Nanowire p-n Junctions, Nano Letters 20(2): 887-895

Yngman, S., S. R. McKibbin, J. V. Knutsson, A. Troian, F. F. Yang, M. H. Magnusson, L. Samuelson, R. Timm and A. Mikkelsen (2019):
Surface smoothing and native oxide suppression on Zn doped aerotaxy GaAs nanowires, Journal of Applied Physics 125(2)

Chayanun, L., V. Dagyte, A. Troian, D. Salomon, M. Borgstrom and J. Wallentin (2018):
Spectrally resolved x-ray beam induced current in a single InGaP nanowire, Nanotechnology 29(45)

Timm, R., A. R. Head, S. Yngman, J. V. Knutsson, M. Hjort, S. R. McKibbin, A. Troian, O. Persson, S. Urpelainen, J. Knudsen, J. Schnadt and A. Mikkelsen (2018):
Self-cleaning and surface chemical reactions during hafnium dioxide atomic layer deposition on indium arsenide, Nature Communications 9

Troian, A., J. V. Knutsson, S. R. McKibbin, S. Yngman, A. S. Babadi, L. E. Wernersson, A. Mikkelsen and R. Timm (2018):
InAs-oxide interface composition and stability upon thermal oxidation and high-k atomic layer deposition, Aip Advances 8(12)

Troian, A., G. Otnes, X. L. Zeng, L. Chayanun, V. Dagyte, S. Hammarberg, D. Salomon, R. Timm, A. Mikkelsen, M. T. Borgstrom and J. Wallentin (2018):
Nanobeam X-ray Fluorescence Dopant Mapping Reveals Dynamics of in Situ Zn-Doping in Nanowires, Nano Letters 18(10): 6461-6468

Synthesis of molecules for energy conversion

Multistep synthesis of porphins whose energy levels are expected to enable superior thermoelectric performance, based on prior theory. Modification of the initially devised synthetic routes based on the progress of the synthesis and characterization of the final products. Tuning of the electronic properties of the porphin core by introducing substituents. The choice of substituents will be based on theoretical calculations that will be developed during the project. Thermoelectric measurements to be performed by Pramod Reddy, Michigan. Project may also include synthesis of molecules for solar-fuel generation.


Miao, R.; Xu, H.; Skripnik, M.; Cui, L.; Wang, K.; Pedersen, K. G. L.; Leijnse, M.; Pauly, F.; Wärnmark, K.; Meyhofer, E.; Reddy, P.; Linke, H.:
Influence of Quantum Interference on the Thermoelectric Properties of Molecular Junctions, Nano Letters, 2018. 18(9): p. 5666-5672

Artificial biomolecular motors

Construction and single-molecule observation of molecular motors based on DNA-protein interactions in collaboration with partners performing peptide synthesis (D. Woolfson, Bristol; E. Bromley, Durham University) and expression of proteins (P. Curmi, Sydney) needed for this project. Fabrication of microfluidic structures needed to manipulate DNA molecules, and to control their chemical environment.

Poster award

PhD4Energy student Damiano Verardo, together with his collaborator Chapin Korosec from Simon Fraser University, won the Biophysical Journal’s award for best poster at the BPS Thematic Meeting “Engineering Approaches to Molecular Motors” in Vancouver, Canada, June 2016. The poster’s title was “Synthesis and Characterisation of the Lawnmower"


Verardo, D., B. Agnarsson, V. P. Zhdanov, F. Höök and H. Linke (2019):
Single-Molecule Detection with Lightguiding Nanowires: Determination of Protein Concentration and Diffusivity in Supported Lipid Bilayers, Nano Letters 19(9), 6182-6191

Verardo, D.; Lindberg, F. W.; Anttu, N.; Niman, C. S.; Lard, M.; Dabkowska, A. P.; Nylander, T.; Månsson, A.; Prinz, C. N.; Linke, H.:
Nanowires for Biosensing: Lightguiding of Fluorescence as a Function of Diameter and Wavelength,  Nano Letters, 2018. 18(8), 4796-4802

Cell-nanoparticle interactions and exposure routes

Exposure assessment and entry-routes to humans and environment during production of nanowires will be studied. The model systems include traditional cell-exposure systems as well as deposition on air-liquid interfaces. The interaction of cells with bare nanowires as well as optoelectronic nanodevices such as solar cells or LEDs will be studied. For workplace safety studies, model measurements of lung-deposition of airborne particles will be used and further developed to be applicable for nanowires. Considering exposure due to waste disposal, the project may be expanded to include aquatic eco- systems, and how nanoparticles are transmitted through food chains.


Idelchik, M. P. S., J. Dillon, L. Abariute, M. A. Guttenberg, A. Segarceanu, N. M. Neu-Baker and S. A. Brenner (2018):
Comparison of hyperspectral classification methods for the analysis of cerium oxide nanoparticles in histological and aqueous samples, Journal of Microscopy 271(1), 69-83

Li, Z., H. Persson, K. Adolfsson, L. Abariute, M. T. Borgstrom, D. Hessman, K. Astrom, S. Oredsson and C. N. Prinz (2017):
Cellular traction forces: a useful parameter in cancer research, Nanoscale 9(48): 19039-19044

Protein-nanoparticle interactions

Characterization and understanding of the composition of the protein corona around nanowires in body fluids is the main research topic. Structural and functional effects on the biomolecules attached to the nanowires will be studied. We will also study aggregation behaviour. We will examine the dependence of the interaction with proteins on the nanomaterial surface character, curvature and aspect ratio (shape). Methods will include neutron reflectivity (in collaboration with ESS), protein separation techniques, mass spectrometry, optical spectroscopy, surface plasmon resonance, and protein array screening.


Ekvall, M. T., M. Lundqvist, E. Kelpsiene, E. Sileikis, S. B. Gunnarsson and T. Cedervall (2019):
Nanoplastics formed during the mechanical breakdown of daily-use polystyrene products, Nanoscale Advances 1(3), 1055-1061

Gunnarsson, S. B., K. Bernfur, U. Englund-Johansson, F. Johansson and T. Cedervall (2019):
Analysis of complexes formed by small gold nanoparticles in low concentration in cell culture media,  Plos One 14(6)

Gunnarsson, S. B., K. Bernfur, A. Mikkelsen and T. Cedervall (2018):
Analysis of nanoparticle biomolecule complexes, Nanoscale 10(9), 4246-4257

Sanfins, E., A. Correia, S. B. Gunnarsson, M. Vilanova and T. Cedervall (2018):
Nanoparticle effect on neutrophil produced myeloperoxidase, Plos One 13(1)

Hjort, M., M. Bauer, S. Gunnarsson, E. Marsell, A. A. Zakharov, G. Karlsson, E. Sanfins, C. N. Prinz, R. Wallenberg, T. Cedervall and A. Mikkelsen (2016):
Electron microscopy imaging of proteins on gallium phosphide semiconductor nanowires, Nanoscale 8(7), 3936-3943


Theory and modeling of heat and charge transport

We will perform theory development and simulation of energy transport in nanowires and molecules, based on quantum rate equations and scattering theory. These will result in predictive design and control of quantum properties for optimal nanoscale thermoelectric-device performance, as well as give assistance in interpreting experimental data.


Dashti, N., M. Misiorny, S. Kheradsoud, P. Samuelsson and J. Splettstoesser (2019):
Minimal excitation single-particle emitters: Comparison of charge-transport and energy-transport properties, Physical Review B 100(3)

Samuelsson, P., S. Kheradsoud and B. Sothmann (2017):
Optimal Quantum Interference Thermoelectric Heat Engine with Edge States, Physical Review Letters 118(25)

Photonics theory and simulations

The research includes investigations and simulations of quantum properties of light-matter interactions in nanowires. This will yield controllable and efficient absorption and emission of photons, with the focus on application to nanowire photovoltaics and photodetectors, accounting for surface properties and defects. We will develop a generalized wave optics model for (heterostructure) nanowire arrays absorption and emission. Also, we will derive a locally resolved optical generation rate in nanowires with axial composition variations, containing ternary alloys. We will use scattering matrix methods for the electromagnetic simulations and k.p-theory for the materials simulation. Strain will be included via linear elasticity theory. The simulations will be fully 3D. We will attempt to generalize these methods to more accurately model alloys.

PhD4Energy student Yang Chen was mentioned in this news article: Nanowire LEDs require combination modelling


Chen, Y., P. Kivisaari, M. E. Pistol and N. Anttu (2018):
Optimized efficiency in InP nanowire solar cells with accurate 1D analysis, Nanotechnology 29(4)

Chen, Y., O. Hohn, N. Tucher, M. E. Pistol and N. Anttu (2017):
Optical analysis of a III-V-nanowire-array-on-Si dual junction solar cell Optics Express 25(16), A665-A679 

Svensson, J., Y. Chen, N. Anttu, M. E. Pistol and L. E. Wernersson (2017):
Increased absorption in InAsSb nanowire clusters through coupled optical modes, Applied Physics Letters 110(8)

Chen, Y., P. Kivisaari, M. E. Pistol and N. Anttu (2017):
One-dimensional Electrical Modeling of Axial p-i-n Junction InP Nanowire Array Solar Cells, 17th International Conference on Numerical Simulation of Optoelectronic Devices Nusod 2017, Piprek and Willatzen, 23-24

Kivisaari, P., Y. Chen, M. E. Pistol and N. Anttu (2017):
Full optoelectronic simulation of nanowire LEDs: Effects of temperature, 17th International Conference on Numerical Simulation of Optoelectronic Devices Nusod 2017, Piprek and Willatzen, 109-110

Chen, Y., P. Kivisaari, M. E. Pistol and N. Anttu (2016):
Optimization of the short-circuit current in an InP nanowire array solar cell through opto-electronic modeling, Nanotechnology 27(43)

Chen, Y., M. E. Pistol and N. Anttu (2016)
Design for strong absorption in a nanowire array tandem solar cell, Scientific Reports 6

Funded by the People Programme (Marie Curie Actions) of the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7-People-2013-ITN) under REA grant agreement n°608153, PhD4Energy.

Results about quantum-dot heat engine on Nature Nanotechnology cover page, October Issue

Cover page page of Nature Nanotechnology, October 2018


The PhD4Energy research on thermoelectric properties of nanomaterials showed that a quantum dot-based heat engine can convert heat into work with an efficiency similar to that of machines with moving parts.

See article by Josefsson et al.