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Phys Rev Lett. 2011 Apr 29;106(17):178701. Epub 2011 Apr 25.

Insulator-to-metal transition in sulfur-doped silicon.

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  • 1Department of Physics, Harvard University, 9 Oxford Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA.


We observe an insulator-to-metal transition in crystalline silicon doped with sulfur to nonequilibrium concentrations using ion implantation followed by pulsed-laser melting and rapid resolidification. This insulator-to-metal transition is due to a dopant known to produce only deep levels at equilibrium concentrations. Temperature-dependent conductivity and Hall effect measurements for temperatures T>1.7  K both indicate that a transition from insulating to metallic conduction occurs at a sulfur concentration between 1.8 and 4.3×10(20)  cm(-3). Conduction in insulating samples is consistent with variable-range hopping with a Coulomb gap. The capacity for deep states to effect metallic conduction by delocalization is the only known route to bulk intermediate band photovoltaics in silicon.

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