The research of this dissertation involved quantitative characterization of electrostatic potential and charge distribution of semiconductor nanostructures using off-axis electron holography, as well as other electron microscopy techniques. The investigated nanostructures included Ge quantum dots, Ge/Si core/shell nanowires, and polytype heterostructures in ZnSe nanobelts. Hole densities were calculated for the first two systems, and the spontaneous polarization for wurtzite ZnSe was determined. Epitaxial Ge quantum dots (QDs) embedded in boron-doped silicon were studied. Reconstructed phase images showed extra phase shifts near the base of the QDs, which was attributed to hole accumulation in these regions. The resulting charge density was (0.03±0.003) holes
m3, which corresponded to about 30 holes localized to a pyramidal, 25-nm-wide Ge QD. This value was in reasonable agreement with the average number of holes confined to each Ge dot determined using a capacitance-voltage measurement. Hole accumulation in Ge/Si core/shell nanowires was observed and quantified using off-axis electron holography and other electron microscopy techniques. High-angle annular-dark-field scanning transmission electron microscopy images and electron holograms were obtained from specific nanowires. The intensities of the former were utilized to calculate the projected thicknesses for both the Ge core and the Si shell. The excess phase shifts measured by electron holography across the nanowires indicated the presence of holes inside the Ge cores. The hole density in the core regions was calculated to be (0.4±0.2)
m3 based on a simplified coaxial cylindrical model. Homogeneous zincblende/wurtzite heterostructure junctions in ZnSe nanobelts were studied. The observed electrostatic fields and charge accumulation were attributed to spontaneous polarization present in the wurtzite regions since the contributions from piezoelectric polarization were shown to be insignificant based on geometric phase analysis. The spontaneous polarization for the wurtzite ZnSe was calculated to be psp = -(0.0029±0.00013) C/m2, whereas a first principles' calculation gave psp = -0.0063 C/m2. The atomic arrangements and polarity continuity at the zincblende/wurtzite interface were determined through aberration-corrected high-angle annular-dark-field imaging, which revealed no polarity reversal across the interface. Overall, the successful outcomes of these studies confirmed the capability of off-axis electron holography to provide quantitative electrostatic information for nanostructured materials.
- Determination of electrostatic potential and charge distribution of semiconductor nanostructures using off-axis electron holography