Compound semiconductors tend to be more ionic if the cations and anions are further apart in atomic columns, such as II-VI compared to III-V compounds, due in part to the greater electronegativity difference between group-II and group-VI atoms. As the electronegativity between the atoms increases, the materials tend to have more insulator-like properties, including higher energy band gaps and lower indices of refraction. This enables significant differences in the optical and electronic properties between III-V, II-VI, and IV-VI semiconductors. Many of these binary compounds have similar lattice constants and therefore can be grown epitaxially on top of each other to create monolithic heterovalent and heterocrystalline heterostructures with optical and electronic properties unachievable in conventional isovalent heterostructures.
Due to the difference in vapor pressures and ideal growth temperatures between the different materials, precise growth methods are required to optimize the structural and optical properties of the heterovalent heterostructures. The high growth temperatures of the III-V materials can damage the II-VI barrier layers, and therefore a compromise must be found for the growth of high-quality III-V and II-VI layers in the same heterostructure. In addition, precise control of the interface termination has been shown to play a significant role in the crystal quality of the different layers in the structure. For non-polar orientations, elemental fluxes of group-II and group-V atoms consistently help to lower the stacking fault and dislocation density in the II-VI/III-V heterovalent heterostructures.
This dissertation examines the epitaxial growth of heterovalent and heterocrystalline heterostructures lattice-matched to GaAs, GaSb, and InSb substrates in a single-chamber growth system. The optimal growth conditions to achieve alternating layers of III-V, II-VI, and IV-VI semiconductors have been investigated using temperature ramps, migration-enhanced epitaxy, and elemental fluxes at the interface. GaSb/ZnTe distributed Bragg reflectors grown in this study significantly outperform similar isovalent GaSb-based reflectors and show great promise for mid-infrared applications. Also, carrier confinement in GaAs/ZnSe quantum wells was achieved with a low-temperature growth technique for GaAs on ZnSe. Additionally, nearly lattice-matched heterocrystalline PbTe/CdTe/InSb heterostructures with strong infrared photoluminescence were demonstrated, along with virtual (211) CdZnTe/InSb substrates with extremely low defect densities for long-wavelength optoelectronic applications.