We have synthesized amorphous- SiCxOy (a-SiCxOy) (x, y: 0 - 1.65) materials via thermal chemical vapor deposition (TCVD) at 800°C using a single source oligomer, 2,4,6-trimethyl-2,4,6-trisila-heptane (C7H22Si3) and ultra-high purity oxygen (O2). The Er-doped SiCxOy materials exhibited a strong room-temperature photoluminescence (PL) at ∼1540 nm at an excitation wavelength of 496.5 nm. Furthermore, the infrared PL intensity was found to be highly dependent on the compositions of carbon and oxygen, with the maximum PL intensity obtained for an Er-doped SiC0.50O1.00 thin film, which exhibited a ∼20-times enhancement in the PL intensity as opposed to the Er-doped SiO2 control samples.
The PL intensity decreased significantly as the matrix evolves into either the SiC-like or SiO2-like material. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) were used to characterize the local elemental electronic environment in a-SiCxOy. Our work indicates a strong correlation between the emission of Er luminescence and the formation of Si-C-O bonding in materials.