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.