Nanowires (NWs) are filamentary crystals with diameters of tens of nanometers and lengths of few microns. Semiconductor NWs have recently attracted a great interest, because they are emerging as building blocks for novel nanoscale devices. Since physical properties are size dependent, NWs display novel properties with respect to their bulk counterparts. Raman scattering is a nondestructive inelastic light scattering technique enabling the assessment of fundamental properties of NWs, such as crystal phase, electronic band structure, composition, and strain field. Here, we summarize the basic principles of Raman spectroscopy and measurement setup, with focus on the scattering geometries typically used for NWs. We show that changing experimental conditions, such as light polarization, excitation energy, and pressure, allows gaining information on specific NW properties, even in a spatially resolved manner along the NW length. As examples, we discuss Ge and GaAs NWs to highlight some differences between Raman spectra of NWs and the bulk, GaAs NWs to show how Raman permits to establish the crystal phase, and InGaAs/GaAs core/shell nanoneedles to explain how compositional homogeneity and strain field can be addressed by Raman spectroscopy. Finally, we discuss resonant Raman experiments on wurtzite InAs NWs that allowed the determination of their electronic band structure.
Part of the book: Raman Spectroscopy and Applications