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Synthesis and band gap engineering in Ge₁-x-ySixSny Materials for Near-IR Wavelength Applications

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This thesis describes the fabrication of several new classes of Ge1-x-ySixSny materials with the required compositions and crystal quality to engineer the band gaps above and below that of elemental Ge (0.8 eV) in the near IR. The work initially

This thesis describes the fabrication of several new classes of Ge1-x-ySixSny materials with the required compositions and crystal quality to engineer the band gaps above and below that of elemental Ge (0.8 eV) in the near IR. The work initially focused on Ge1-x-ySixSny (1-5% Sn, 4-20% Si) materials grown on Ge(100) via gas-source epitaxy of Ge4H10, Si4H10 and SnD4. Both intrinsic and doped layers were produced with defect-free microstructure and viable thickness, allowing the fabrication of high-performance photodetectors. These exhibited low ideality factors, state-of-the-art dark current densities and adjustable absorption edges between 0.87 and 1.03 eV, indicating that the band gaps span a significant range above that of Ge. Next Sn-rich Ge1-x-ySixSny alloys (2-4% Si and 4-10% Sn) were fabricated directly on Si and were found to show significant optical emission using photoluminescence measurements, indicating that the alloys have direct band gaps below that of pure Ge in the range of 0.7-0.55 eV. A series of Sn-rich Ge1-x-ySixSny analogues (y>x) with fixed 3-4% Si content and progressively increasing Sn content in the 4-10% range were then grown on Ge buffered Si platforms for the purpose of improving the material's crystal quality. The films in this case exhibited lower defect densities than those grown on Si, allowing a meaningful study of both the direct and indirect gaps. The results show that the separation of the direct and indirect edges can be made smaller than in Ge even for non-negligible 3-4% Si content, confirming that with a suitable choice of Sn compositions the ternary Ge1-x-ySixSny reproduces all features of the electronic structure of binary Ge1-ySny, including the sought-after indirect-to-direct gap cross over. The above synthesis of optical quality Ge1-x-ySixSny on virtual Ge was made possible by the development of high quality Ge-on-Si buffers via chemical vapor deposition of Ge4H10. The resultant films exhibited structural and electrical properties significantly improved relative to state-of-the-art results obtained using conventional approaches. It was found that pure Ge4H10 facilitates the control of residual doping and enables p-i-n devices whose dark currents are not entirely determined by defects and whose zero-bias collection efficiencies are higher than those obtained from samples fabricated using alternative Ge-on-Si approaches.

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2013

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Epitaxy of group IV optical materials and synthesis of IV/III-V semiconductor analogs by designer hydride chemistries

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The thesis studies new methods to fabricate optoelectronic Ge1-ySny/Si(100) alloys and investigate their photoluminescence (PL) properties for possible applications in Si-based photonics including IR lasers. The work initially investigated the origin of the difference between the PL spectrum of bulk

The thesis studies new methods to fabricate optoelectronic Ge1-ySny/Si(100) alloys and investigate their photoluminescence (PL) properties for possible applications in Si-based photonics including IR lasers. The work initially investigated the origin of the difference between the PL spectrum of bulk Ge, dominated by indirect gap emission, and the PL spectrum of Ge-on-Si films, dominated by direct gap emission. It was found that the difference is due to the supression of self-absorption effects in Ge films, combined with a deviation from quasi-equilibrium conditions in the conduction band of undoped films. The latter is confirmed by a model suggesting that the deviation is caused by the shorter recombination lifetime in the films relative to bulk Ge. The knowledge acquired from this work was then utilized to study the PL properties of n-type Ge1-ySny/Si (y=0.004-0.04) samples grown via chemical vapor deposition of Ge2H6/SnD4/P(GeH3)3. It was found that the emission intensity (I) of these samples is at least 10x stronger than observed in un-doped counterparts and that the Idir/Iind ratio of direct over indirect gap emission increases for high-Sn contents due to the reduced gamma-L valley separation, as expected. Next the PL investigation was expanded to samples with y=0.05-0.09 grown via a new method using the more reactive Ge3H8 in place of Ge2H6. Optical quality, 1-um thick Ge1-ySny/Si(100) layers were produced using Ge3H10/SnD4 and found to exhibit strong, tunable PL near the threshold of the direct-indirect bandgap crossover. A byproduct of this study was the development of an enhanced process to produce Ge3H8, Ge4H10, and Ge5H12 analogs for application in ultra-low temperature deposition of Group-IV semiconductors. The thesis also studies synthesis routes of an entirely new class of semiconductor compounds and alloys described by Si5-2y(III-V)y (III=Al, V= As, P) comprising of specifically designed diamond-like structures based on a Si parent lattice incorporating isolated III-V units. The common theme of the two thesis topics is the development of new mono-crystalline materials on ubiquitous silicon platforms with the objective of enhancing the optoelectronic performance of Si and Ge semiconductors, potentially leading to the design of next generation optical devices including lasers, detectors and solar cells.

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2013

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Exploring metal hydrides using autoclave and multi-anvil hydrogenations

Description

Metal hydride materials have been intensively studied for hydrogen storage applications. In addition to potential hydrogen economy applications, metal hydrides offer a wide variety of other interesting properties. For example, hydrogen-dominant materials, which are hydrides with the highest hydrogen content

Metal hydride materials have been intensively studied for hydrogen storage applications. In addition to potential hydrogen economy applications, metal hydrides offer a wide variety of other interesting properties. For example, hydrogen-dominant materials, which are hydrides with the highest hydrogen content for a particular metal/semimetal composition, are predicted to display high-temperature superconductivity. On the other side of the spectrum are hydrides with small amounts of hydrogen (0.1 - 1 at.%) that are investigated as viable magnetic, thermoelectric or semiconducting materials. Research of metal hydride materials is generally important to gain fundamental understanding of metal-hydrogen interactions in materials. Hydrogenation of Zintl phases, which are defined as compounds between an active metal (alkali, alkaline earth, rare earth) and a p-block metal/semimetal, were attempted by a hot sintering method utilizing an autoclave loaded with gaseous hydrogen (< 9 MPa). Hydride formation competes with oxidative decomposition of a Zintl phase. The oxidative decomposition, which leads to a mixture of binary active metal hydride and p-block element, was observed for investigated aluminum (Al) and gallium (Ga) containing Zintl phases. However, a new phase Li2Al was discovered when Zintl phase precursors were synthesized. Using the single crystal x-ray diffraction (SCXRD), the Li2Al was found to crystallize in an orthorhombic unit cell (Cmcm) with the lattice parameters a = 4.6404(8) Å, b = 9.719(2) Å, and c = 4.4764(8) Å. Increased demand for materials with improved properties necessitates the exploration of alternative synthesis methods. Conventional metal hydride synthesis methods, like ball-milling and autoclave technique, are not responding to the demands of finding new materials. A viable alternative synthesis method is the application of high pressure for the preparation of hydrogen-dominant materials. Extreme pressures in the gigapascal ranges can open access to new metal hydrides with novel structures and properties, because of the drastically increased chemical potential of hydrogen. Pressures up to 10 GPa can be easily achieved using the multi-anvil (MA) hydrogenations while maintaining sufficient sample volume for structure and property characterization. Gigapascal MA hydrogenations using ammonia borane (BH3NH3) as an internal hydrogen source were employed in the search for new hydrogen-dominant materials. Ammonia borane has high gravimetric volume of hydrogen, and additionally the thermally activated decomposition at high pressures lead to a complete hydrogen release at reasonably low temperature. These properties make ammonia borane a desired hydrogen source material. The missing member Li2PtH6 of the series of A2PtH6 compounds (A = Na to Cs) was accessed by employing MA technique. As the known heavier analogs, the Li2PtH6 also crystallizes in a cubic K2PtCl6-type structure with a cell edge length of 6.7681(3) Å. Further gigapascal hydrogenations afforded the compounds K2SiH6 and Rb2SiH6 which are isostructural to Li2PtH6. The cubic K2SiH6 and Rb2SiH6 are built from unique hypervalent SiH62- entities with the lattice parameters of 7.8425(9) and 8.1572(4) Å, respectively. Spectroscopic analysis of hexasilicides confirmed the presence of hypervalent bonding. The Si-H stretching frequencies at 1550 cm-1 appeared considerably decreased in comparison with a normal-valent (2e2c) Si-H stretching frequencies in SiH4 at around 2200 cm-1. However, the observed stretching modes in hypervalent hexasilicides were in a reasonable agreement with Ph3SiH2- (1520 cm-1) where the hydrogen has the axial (3e4c bonded) position in the trigoal bipyramidal environment.

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2013

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Epitaxial development of advanced group IV materials and high performance optical devices for applications in Si-photonics and photovoltaics

Description

Group IV alloy films exhibit the ability to tune both band structure and lattice parameters and have recently attracted attention for their potential applications in Si-photonics and photovoltaics. In this work, several new approaches to produce these alloys directly on

Group IV alloy films exhibit the ability to tune both band structure and lattice parameters and have recently attracted attention for their potential applications in Si-photonics and photovoltaics. In this work, several new approaches to produce these alloys directly on Si(100) and Ge(100) wafers are developed. For photovoltaics, use of Ge-buffered Si(100) wafers as a low cost platform for epitaxy of In1-xGaxAs layers was explored. The results indicate that this approach has promise for transitioning from bulk Ge platforms to virtual substrates for a significant cost reduction. The electrical and optical properties of Ge and Ge1-ySny layers produced using several different techniques were explored via fabrication of high performance heterostructure photodiodes. First, a new CVD approach to Ge-like materials was developed in which germanium is alloyed with very small amounts of tin. These alloys exhibited no significant difference in their structural properties or band gap compared to pure Ge, however superior photo response and reduced dark currents were observed from fabricated devices relative to pure Ge on Si reference diodes. Additionally, pure Ge/Si(100) photodiodes were fabricated using layers grown via reactions of Ge4H10 on Si(100) and found to exhibit low dark current densities with high collection efficiencies. Ge1-x-ySixSny materials represent the newest member of group IV alloy family. The ability to decouple the lattice constant and the band gap in this system has led to strong interest both for strain/confinement layers in quantum well structures, and as the possible "missing" 1 eV junction in multijunction photovoltaics. Recent progress in this field has allowed for the first time growth, fabrication and measurement of novel photodiodes based on Ge1-x-ySixSny. This work presents the material, electrical and optical properties of Ge1-x-ySixSny layers and photodiodes grown directly on Ge and Si wafers using two different synthetic approaches. A series of photodiodes containing Sn concentrations from 1-5%, all lattice matched to Ge, was fabricated. The devices exhibited low dark current densities with high collection efficiencies as required for photovoltaics. By measuring the photoresponse, tunable band gaps ranging from 0.85 eV to 1.02 eV were observed.

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2012

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Synthesis of hybrid (III-V)y(IV)5-2y semiconductors: a new approach to extending the optoelectronic capabilities of Si and Ge technologies

Description

Modern semiconductor technologies have been dominated by group-IV materials and III-V analogues. The development of hybrid derivatives combining appropriate members of these systems has been of interest for the purpose of extending the optoelectronic capabilities of the state-of-the-art. Early work

Modern semiconductor technologies have been dominated by group-IV materials and III-V analogues. The development of hybrid derivatives combining appropriate members of these systems has been of interest for the purpose of extending the optoelectronic capabilities of the state-of-the-art. Early work on pseudo-binary (III-V)-IV alloys, described with the general formula (III-V)1-x(IV2)x,

showed limited progress due to phase segregation, auto-doping and compositional inhomogeneities. Recently, new techniques were introduced for synthesizing new classes of (III-V)-IV hybrid materials using reactions of V(IVH3)3 molecules [V = N, P, As and IV = Si, Ge] with group-III elements (B, Al, Ga, In). The reactions produce (III-V)-IV3 building blocks that interlink to form diamond-like

frameworks in which the III-V pairs incorporate as isolated units within the group-IV lattice. This approach not only precludes phase segregation, but also provides access to structures and compositions unattainable by conventional means. Entire new families of crystalline (III-V)-IV3 and (III-V)y(IV)5-y alloys with tunable IV-rich compositions, different from conventional (III-V)1-x(IV2)x systems, have been grown on Si(100) and GaP(100) wafers as well as Si1-xGex and Ge buffer layers which, in most cases, provide lattice matched templates for Si integration.

In this work, materials in the In-P-Ge, Ga-As-Ge and Ga-P-Si systems that would exhibit direct-gap behavior were targeted. A series of (InP)yGe5-2y alloys with tunable Ge contents above 60% were synthesized by reactions of P(GeH3)3 and indium atoms and were studied for bonding, structure, and optical response. (GaAs)yGe5-2y analogues were also grown and exhibited strong photoluminescence for applications in mid-IR photonics. The GaPSi3 alloy and Si-rich derivatives were produced via reactions of P(SiH3)3 and [H2GaNMe2]2 and exhibit enhanced absorption in the visible range. Quaternary analogues in the Al1-xBxPSi3 system were grown on Si via reactions of Al(BH4)3 and P(SiH3)3 leading to the formation crystalline materials with extended absorption relative to Si. This makes them imminently suitable for applications in Si-based photovoltaics. The work emphasized use of quantum-chemical simulations to elucidate structural, thermodynamic, and mechanical properties of the synthesized systems. The theory also included simulations of new synthetic targets such as BNC3, BNSi3, BPC3, and BPSi3 with interesting mechanical properties and strong covalent bonding.

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2017

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Chemical vapor deposition of metastable germanium based semiconductors for optoelectronic applications

Description

Optoelectronic and microelectronic applications of germanium-based materials have received considerable research interest in recent years. A novel method for Ge on Si heteroepitaxy required for such applications was developed via molecular epitaxy of Ge5H12. Next, As(GeH3)3, As(SiH3)3, SbD3, S(GeH3)2 and

Optoelectronic and microelectronic applications of germanium-based materials have received considerable research interest in recent years. A novel method for Ge on Si heteroepitaxy required for such applications was developed via molecular epitaxy of Ge5H12. Next, As(GeH3)3, As(SiH3)3, SbD3, S(GeH3)2 and S(SiH3)2 molecular sources were utilized in degenerate n-type doping of Ge. The epitaxial Ge films produced in this work incorporate donor atoms at concentrations above the thermodynamic equilibrium limits. The donors are nearly fully activated, and led to films with lowest resistivity values thus far reported.

Band engineering of Ge was achieved by alloying with Sn. Epitaxy of the alloy layers was conducted on virtual Ge substrates, and made use of the germanium hydrides Ge2H6 and Ge3H8, and the Sn source SnD4. These films exhibit stronger emission than equivalent material deposited directly on Si, and the contributions from the direct and indirect edges can be separated. The indirect-direct crossover composition for Ge1-ySny alloys was determined by photoluminescence (PL). By n-type doping of the Ge1-ySny alloys via P(GeH3)3, P(SiH3)3 and As(SiH3)3, it was possible to enhance photoexcited emission by more than an order-of-magnitude.

The above techniques for deposition of direct gap Ge1-ySny alloys and doping of Ge were combined with p-type doping methods for Ge1-ySny using B2H6 to fabricate pin heterostructure diodes with active layer compositions up to y=0.137. These represent the first direct gap light emitting diodes made from group IV materials. The effect of the single defected n-i¬ interface in a n-Ge/i-Ge1-ySny/p-Ge1-zSnz architecture on electroluminescence (EL) was studied. This led to lattice engineering of the n-type contact layer to produce diodes of n-Ge1-xSnx/i-Ge1-ySny/p-Ge1-zSnz architecture which are devoid of interface defects and therefore exhibit more efficient EL than the previous design. Finally, n-Ge1-ySny/p-Ge1-zSnz pn junction devices were synthesized with varying composition and doping parameters to investigate the effect of these properties on EL.

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2016

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Expanding the optical capabilities of germanium in the infrared range through group IV and III-V-IV alloy systems

Description

The work described in this thesis explores the synthesis of new semiconductors in the Si-Ge-Sn system for application in Si-photonics. Direct gap Ge1-ySny (y=0.12-0.16) alloys with enhanced light emission and absorption are pursued. Monocrystalline layers are grown on Si platforms

The work described in this thesis explores the synthesis of new semiconductors in the Si-Ge-Sn system for application in Si-photonics. Direct gap Ge1-ySny (y=0.12-0.16) alloys with enhanced light emission and absorption are pursued. Monocrystalline layers are grown on Si platforms via epitaxy-driven reactions between Sn- and Ge-hydrides using compositionally graded buffer layers that mitigate lattice mismatch between the epilayer and Si platforms. Prototype p-i-n structures are fabricated and are found to exhibit direct gap electroluminescence and tunable absorption edges between 2200 and 2700 nm indicating applications in LEDs and detectors. Additionally, a low pressure technique is described producing pseudomorphic Ge1-ySny alloys in the compositional range y=0.06-0.17. Synthesis of these materials is achieved at ultra-low temperatures resulting in nearly defect-free films that far exceed the critical thicknesses predicted by thermodynamic considerations, and provide a chemically driven route toward materials with properties typically associated with molecular beam epitaxy.

Silicon incorporation into Ge1-ySny yields a new class of Ge1-x-ySixSny (y>x) ternary alloys using reactions between Ge3H8, Si4H10, and SnD4. These materials contain small amounts of Si (x=0.05-0.08) and Sn contents of y=0.1-0.15. Photoluminescence studies indicate an intensity enhancement relative to materials with lower Sn contents (y=0.05-0.09). These materials may serve as thermally robust alternatives to Ge1-ySny for mid-infrared (IR) optoelectronic applications.

An extension of the above work is the discovery of a new class of Ge-like Group III-V-IV hybrids with compositions Ga(As1–xPx)Ge3 (x=0.01-0.90) and (GaP)yGe5–2y related to Ge1-x-ySixSny in structure and properties. These materials are prepared by chemical vapor deposition of reactive Ga-hydrides with P(GeH3)3 and As(GeH3)3 custom precursors as the sources of P, As, and Ge incorporating isolated GaAs and GaP donor-acceptor pairs into diamond-like Ge-based structures. Photoluminescence studies reveal bandgaps in the near-IR and large bowing of the optical behavior relative to linear interpolation of the III-V and Ge end members. Similar materials in the Al-Sb-B-P system are also prepared and characterized. The common theme of the above topics is the design and fabrication of new optoelectronic materials that can be fully compatible with Si-based technologies for expanding the optoelectronic capabilities of Ge into the mid-IR and beyond through compositional tuning of the diamond lattice.

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2018

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Evaluation of k4-diimine nickel and cobalt hydrofunctionalization catalysts

Description

The search for highly active, inexpensive, and earth abundant replacements for existing transition metal catalysts is ongoing. Our group has utilized several redox non-innocent ligands that feature flexible arms with donor substituents. These ligands allow for coordinative flexibility about the

The search for highly active, inexpensive, and earth abundant replacements for existing transition metal catalysts is ongoing. Our group has utilized several redox non-innocent ligands that feature flexible arms with donor substituents. These ligands allow for coordinative flexibility about the metal centre, while the redox non-innocent core helps to overcome the one electron chemistry that is prevalent in first row transition metals. This dissertation focuses on the use of Ph2PPrDI, which can adopt a κ4-configuration when bound to a metal. One reaction that is industrially useful is hydrosilylation, which allows for the preparation of silicones that are useful in the lubrication, adhesive, and cosmetics industries. Typically, this reaction relies on highly active, platinum-based catalysts. However, the high cost of this metal has inspired the search for base metal replacements. In Chapter One, an overview of existing alkene and carbonyl hydrosilylation catalysts is presented. Chapter Two focuses on exploring the reactivity of (Ph2PPrDI)Ni towards carbonyl hydrosilylation, as well as the development of the 2nd generation catalysts, (iPr2PPrDI)Ni and (tBu2PPrDI)Ni. Chapter Three presents a new C-O bond hydrosilylation reaction for the formation of silyl esters. It was found the (Ph2PPrDI)Ni is the most active catalyst in the literature for this transformation, with turnover frequencies of up to 900 h-1. Chapter Four explores the activity and selectivity of (Ph2PPrDI)Ni for alkene hydrosilylation, including the first large scope of gem-olefins for a nickel-based catalyst. Chapter Five explores the chemistry of (Ph2PPrDI)CoH, first through electronic structure determinations and crystallography, followed by an investigation of its reactivity towards alkyne hydroboration and nitrile dihydroboration. (Ph2PPrDI)CoH is the first reported cobalt nitrile dihydroboration catalyst.

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2018