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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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Growth, optical properties, and optimization of infrared optoelectronic materials

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High-performance III-V semiconductors based on ternary alloys and superlattice systems are fabricated, studied, and compared for infrared optoelectronic applications. InAsBi is a ternary alloy near the GaSb lattice constant

High-performance III-V semiconductors based on ternary alloys and superlattice systems are fabricated, studied, and compared for infrared optoelectronic applications. InAsBi is a ternary alloy near the GaSb lattice constant that is not as thoroughly investigated as other III-V alloys and that is challenging to produce as Bi has a tendency to surface segregate and form droplets during growth rather than incorporate. A growth window is identified within which high-quality droplet-free bulk InAsBi is produced and Bi mole fractions up to 6.4% are obtained. Photoluminescence with high internal quantum efficiency is observed from InAs/InAsBi quantum wells. The high structural and optical quality of the InAsBi materials examined demonstrates that bulk, quantum well, and superlattice structures utilizing InAsBi are an important design option for efficient infrared coverage.

Another important infrared material system is InAsSb and the strain-balanced InAs/InAsSb superlattice on GaSb. Detailed examination of X-ray diffraction, photoluminescence, and spectroscopic ellipsometry data provides the temperature and composition dependent bandgap of bulk InAsSb. The unintentional incorporation of approximately 1% Sb into the InAs layers of the superlattice is measured and found to significantly impact the analysis of the InAs/InAsSb band alignment. In the analysis of the absorption spectra, the ground state absorption coefficient and transition strength of the superlattice are proportional to the square of the electron-hole wavefunction overlap; wavefunction overlap is therefore a major design parameter in terms of optimizing absorption in these materials. Furthermore in addition to improvements through design optimization, the optical quality of the materials studied is found to be positively enhanced with the use of Bi as a surfactant during molecular beam epitaxy growth.

A software tool is developed that calculates and optimizes the miniband structure of semiconductor superlattices, including bismide-based designs. The software has the capability to limit results to designs that can be produced with high structural and optical quality, and optimized designs in terms of maximizing absorption are identified for several infrared superlattice systems at the GaSb lattice constant. The accuracy of the software predictions are tested with the design and growth of an optimized mid-wave infrared InAs/InAsSb superlattice which exhibits superior optical and absorption properties.

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  • 2016