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Structural characterization of II-VI and III-V compound semiconductor heterostructures and superlattices

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The research described in this dissertation has involved the use of transmission electron microcopy (TEM) to characterize the structural properties of II-VI and III-V compound semiconductor heterostructures and superlattices. The

The research described in this dissertation has involved the use of transmission electron microcopy (TEM) to characterize the structural properties of II-VI and III-V compound semiconductor heterostructures and superlattices. The microstructure of thick ZnTe epilayers (~2.4 µm) grown by molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) under virtually identical conditions on GaSb, InAs, InP and GaAs (100) substrates were compared using TEM. High-resolution electron micrographs revealed a highly coherent interface for the ZnTe/GaSb sample, and showed extensive areas with well-separated interfacial misfit dislocations for the ZnTe/InAs sample. Lomer edge dislocations and 60o dislocations were commonly observed at the interfaces of the ZnTe/InP and ZnTe/GaAs samples. The amount of residual strain at the interfaces was estimated to be 0.01% for the ZnTe/InP sample and -0.09% for the ZnTe/GaAs sample. Strong PL spectra for all ZnTe samples were observed from 80 to 300 K. High quality GaSb grown by MBE on ZnTe/GaSb (001) virtual substrates with a temperature ramp at the beginning of the GaSb growth has been demonstrated. High-resolution X-ray diffraction (XRD) showed clear Pendellösung thickness fringes from both GaSb and ZnTe epilayers. Cross-section TEM images showed excellent crystallinity and smooth morphology for both ZnTe/GaSb and GaSb/ZnTe interfaces. Plan-view TEM image revealed the presence of Lomer dislocations at the interfaces and threading dislocations in the top GaSb layer. The defect density was estimated to be ~1 x107/cm2. The PL spectra showed improved optical properties when using the GaSb transition layer grown on ZnTe with a temperature ramp. The structural properties of strain-balanced InAs/InAs1-xSbx SLs grown on GaSb (001) substrates by metalorganic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) and MBE, have been studied using XRD and TEM. Excellent structural quality of the InAs/InAs1-xSbx SLs grown by MOCVD has been demonstrated. Well-defined ordered-alloy structures within individual InAs1-xSbx layers were observed for samples grown by modulated MBE. However, the ordering disappeared when defects propagating through the SL layers appeared during growth. For samples grown by conventional MBE, high-resolution images revealed that interfaces for InAs1-xSbx grown on InAs layers were sharper than for InAs grown on InAs1-xSbx layers, most likely due to a Sb surfactant segregation effect.

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  • 2012

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Oxygen nanodistributions in cobalt-iron electrodeposited thin films: some effect on magnetic properties, high resolution analytical electron microscopy

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Soft magnetic alloys play a significant role for magnetic recording applications and highly sensitivity magnetic field sensors. In order to sustain the magnetic areal density growth, development of new synthesis

Soft magnetic alloys play a significant role for magnetic recording applications and highly sensitivity magnetic field sensors. In order to sustain the magnetic areal density growth, development of new synthesis techniques and materials is necessary. In this work, the effect of oxygen incorporation during electrodeposition of CoFe alloys on magnetic properties, magnetoresistance and structural properties has been studied. Understanding the magnetic properties often required knowledge of oxygen distribution and structural properties of the grown films. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) was a powerful tool in this study to correlate the oxygen-distribution nanostructure to the magnetic properties of deposited films. Off-axis electron holography in TEM was used to measure magnetic domain wall width in the deposited films. Elemental depth profiles of Fe, Co, O were investigated by secondary ion mass spectroscopy (SIMS). Magnetic properties have been determined by superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID) measurements. Oxygen content in the CoFe deposited films was controlled by electrolyte composition. Films were deposited on Si 100 substrates and on other substrates such as Cu and Al. However, a good film quality was achieved on Si substrate. Electron energy loss and x-ray spectroscopies showed that the low oxygen films contained intragranular Fe2+ oxide (FeO) particles and that the high oxygen films contained intergranular Fe3+ (Fe2O3) along grain boundaries. The films with oxide present at the grain boundary had significantly increased coercivity, magnetoresistance and reduced saturation magnetization relative to the lower oxygen content films with intragranular oxide. The differences in magnetic properties between low oxygen and high oxygen concentration films were attributed to stronger mobile domain wall interactions with the grain boundary oxide layers. The very high magnetoresistance values were achieved for magnetic devices with nanocontact dimension < 100 nm and oxide incorporation in this nanoconfined geometry. The content of oxide phase in nanocontact was controlled by concentration of the Fe3+ ions in the electrodeposition solution. Magnetic device integrity was improved by varying amount of additive into plating solution. These results indicated that electrodeposited CoFe nanocontact is a novel class of materials with large application for magnetic field sensors.

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  • 2012

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Characterization of oxide thin films and interfaces using transmission electron microscopy

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Multifunctional oxide thin-films grown on silicon and several oxide substrates have been characterized using High Resolution (Scanning) Transmission Electron Microscopy (HRTEM), Energy-Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDX), and Electron Energy-Loss Spectroscopy (EELS).

Multifunctional oxide thin-films grown on silicon and several oxide substrates have been characterized using High Resolution (Scanning) Transmission Electron Microscopy (HRTEM), Energy-Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDX), and Electron Energy-Loss Spectroscopy (EELS). Oxide thin films grown on SrTiO3/Si pseudo-substrate showed the presence of amorphised SrTiO3 (STO) at the STO/Si interface. Oxide/oxide interfaces were observed to be atomically clean with very few defects.

Al-doped SrTiO3 thin films grown on Si were of high crystalline quality. The Ti/O ratio estimated from EELS line scans revealed that substitution of Ti by Al created associated O vacancies. The strength of the crystal field in STO was measured using EELS, and decreased by ~1.0 eV as Ti4+ was substituted by Al3+. The damping of O-K EELS peaks confirmed the rise in oxygen vacancies. For Co-substituted STO films grown on Si, the EDS and EELS spectra across samples showed Co doping was quite random. The substitution of Ti4+ with Co3+ or Co2+ created associated oxygen vacancies for charge balance. Presence of oxygen vacancies was also confirmed by shift of Ti-L EELS peaks towards lower energy by ~0.4 eV. The crystal-field strength decreased by ~0.6 eV as Ti4+ was partially substituted by Co3+ or Co2+.

Spinel Co3O4 thin films grown on MgAl2O4 (110) were observed to have excellent crystalline quality. The structure of the Co3O4/MgAl2O4 interface was determined using HRTEM and image simulations. It was found that MgAl2O4 substrate is terminated with Al and oxygen. Stacking faults and associated strain fields in spinel Co3O4 were found along [111], [001], and [113] using Geometrical Phase Analysis.

NbO2 films on STO (111) were observed to be tetragonal with lattice parameter of 13.8 Å and NbO films on LSAT (111) were observed to be cubic with lattice parameter of 4.26 Å. HRTEM showed formation of high quality NbOx films and excellent coherent interface. HRTEM of SrAl4 on LAO (001) confirmed an island growth mode. The SrAl4 islands were highly crystalline with excellent epitaxial registry with LAO. By comparing HRTEM images with image simulations, the interface structure was determined to consist of Sr-terminated SrAl4 (001) on AlO2-terminated LAO (001).

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  • 2015