Investigating Optoelectronic and Electronic Materials for Next Generation Semiconductor Devices

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This dissertation describes the characterization of optoelectronic and electronic materials being considered for next generation semiconductor devices, primarily using electron microscopy techniques. The research included refinement of growth parameters for

This dissertation describes the characterization of optoelectronic and electronic materials being considered for next generation semiconductor devices, primarily using electron microscopy techniques. The research included refinement of growth parameters for optimizing material quality, and investigation of heterostructured interfaces. The results provide better understanding of the fundamental materials science and should lead to future improvements in device applications.

A microstructural study of tin selenide and tin manganese selenide thin films grown by molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) on GaAs (111)B substrates with different Se:Sn flux ratios and Mn concentrations was carried out. Low flux ratios lead to highly defective films, mostly consisting of SnSe, whereas higher flux ratios gave higher quality, single-phase SnSe2. The ternary (Sn,Mn)Se films evolved quasi-coherently, as the Mn concentration increased, from SnSe2 into a complex lattice, and then into MnSe with 3D rock-salt structure. These structural transformations should underlie the evolution of magnetic properties of this ternary system reported earlier in the literature.

II-VI/III-V compound semiconductor heterostructures have been characterized for growth in both single- and dual-chamber MBE systems. Three groups of lattice-matched materials have been investigated: i) 5.65Å materials based on GaAs, ii) 6.1Å materials based on InAs or GaSb, and iii) 6.5Å materials based on InSb. High quality II-VI materials grown on III-V substrates were demonstrated for ZnTe/GaSb and CdTe/InSb. III-V materials grown on II-VI buffer layers present additional challenges and were grown with varying degrees of success. InAsSb quantum wells in between ZnTe barriers were nearly defect-free, but showed 3D island growth. All other materials demonstrated flat interfaces, despite low growth temperature, but with stacking faults in the II-VI materials.

Femtosecond laser-induced defects (LIDs) in silicon solar cells were characterized using a variety of electron microscopy techniques. Scanning electron microscope (SEM) images showed that the intersections of laser lines, finger and busbar intersections, exhibited LIDs with the potential to shunt the contacts. SEM and transmission electron microscope (TEM) images correlated these LIDs with ablated c-Si and showed these defects to come in two sizes ~40nm and ~.5µm. The elemental profiles across defective and non-defective regions were found using energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy.