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Structural Characterization of III-V Bismide Materials Grown by Molecular Beam Epitaxy

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III-V-bismide semiconductor alloys are a class of materials with applications in the mid and long wave infrared spectrum. The quaternary alloy InAsSbBi is attractive because it can be grown

III-V-bismide semiconductor alloys are a class of materials with applications in the mid and long wave infrared spectrum. The quaternary alloy InAsSbBi is attractive because it can be grown lattice-matched to commercially available GaSb substrates, and the adjustment of the Bi and Sb mole fractions enables both lattice constant and bandgap to be tuned independently. This dissertation provides a comprehensive study of the surface morphology and the structural and chemical properties of InAsSbBi alloys grown by molecular beam epitaxy.

210 nm thick InAsSbBi layers grown at temperatures from 280 °C to 430 °C on (100) on-axis, (100) offcut 1° to (011), and (100) offcut 4° to (111)A GaSb substrates are investigated using Rutherford back scattering, X-ray diffraction, transmission electron microscopy, Nomarski optical microscopy, atomic force microscopy, and photoluminescence spectroscopy. The results indicate that the layers are coherently strained and contain dilute Bi mole fractions.

Large surface droplets with diameters and densities on the order of 3 µm and 106 cm-2 are observed when the growth is performed with As overpressures around 1%. Preferential orientation of the droplets occurs along the [011 ̅] step edges offcut (100) 1° to (011) substrate. The surface droplets are not observed when the As overpressure is increased to 4%. Small crystalline droplets with diameters and densities on the order of 70 nm and 1010 cm-2 are observed between the large droplets for the growth at 430°C. Analysis of one of the small droplets indicates a misoriented zinc blende structure composed of In, Sb, and Bi, with a 6.543 ± 0.038 Å lattice constant.

Lateral variation in the Bi mole fraction is observed in InAsSbBi grown at high temperature (400 °C, 420 °C) on (100) on-axis and (100) offcut 4° to (111)A substrates, but is not observed for growth at 280 °C or on (100) substrates that are offcut 1° to (011). Improved crystal and optical quality is observed in the high temperature grown InAsSbBi and CuPtB type atomic ordering on the {111}B planes is observed in the low temperature grown InAsSbBi. Strain induced tilt is observed in coherently strained InAsSbBi grown on offcut substrates.

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  • 2020

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Evaluation of compound semiconductors for infrared photo-detection applications

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In this dissertation research, conventional and aberration-corrected (AC) transmission electron microscopy (TEM) techniques were used to evaluate the structural and compositional properties of thin-film semiconductor compounds/alloys grown by molecular beam

In this dissertation research, conventional and aberration-corrected (AC) transmission electron microscopy (TEM) techniques were used to evaluate the structural and compositional properties of thin-film semiconductor compounds/alloys grown by molecular beam epitaxy for infrared photo-detection. Imaging, diffraction and spectroscopy techniques were applied to TEM specimens in cross-section geometry to extract information about extended structural defects, chemical homogeneity and interface abruptness. The materials investigated included InAs1-xBix alloys grown on GaSb (001) substrates, InAs/InAs1-xSbx type-II superlattices grown on GaSb (001) substrates, and CdTe-based thin-film structures grown on InSb (001) substrates.

The InAsBi dilute-bismide epitaxial films were grown on GaSb (001) substrates at relatively low growth temperatures. The films were mostly free of extended defects, as observed in diffraction-contrast images, but the incorporation of bismuth was not homogeneous, as manifested by the lateral Bi-composition modulation and Bi-rich surface droplets. Successful Bi incorporation into the InAs matrix was confirmed using lattice expansion measurements obtained from misfit strain analysis of high-resolution TEM (HREM) images.

Analysis of averaged intensity line profiles in HREM and scanning TEM (STEM) images of the Ga-free InAs/InAs1-xSbx type-II strained superlattices indicated slight variations in layer thickness across the superlattice stack. The interface abruptness was evaluated using misfit strain analysis of AC-STEM images, electron energy-loss spectroscopy and 002 dark-field imaging. The compositional profiles of antimony across the superlattices were fitted to a segregation model and revealed a strong antimony segregation probability.

The CdTe/MgxCd1-xTe double-heterostructures were grown with Cd overflux in a dual-chamber molecular beam epitaxy with an ultra-high vacuum transfer loadlock. Diffraction-contrast images showed that the growth temperature had a strong impact on the structural quality of the epilayers. Very abrupt CdTe/InSb interfaces were obtained for epilayers grown at the optimum temperature of 265 °C, and high-resolution imaging using AC-STEM revealed an interfacial transition region with a width of a few monolayers and smaller lattice spacing than either CdTe or InSb.

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  • 2017