The optical and electronic properties of Ge₁-ySny and Ge₁-x-ySixSny materials and devices for silicon integrated optoelectronics
Group-IV semiconductor alloys are of interest for Si-integrated optoelectronic applications due to the band gap tunability and enhanced optical capabilities that can be achieved through compositional tuning. This work advances the field by presenting a systematic study of the optical and electronic properties of Ge1-ySny and analogous Ge1-x-ySixSny alloys.
The fundamental direct and indirect band gaps of Ge1-ySny materials are measured by room temperature photoluminescence in samples containing 0 ≤ y ≤ 0.11 and a transition to direct gap materials is found to occur at yc = 0.087. This result is enabled by the development of sample growth and processing protocols that produce high-quality materials epitaxially on Ge-buffered Si(100) substrates. Strategies to optimize the optical performance are explored by varying the film thickness, thermal and surface treatments, and n-type doping. The electrical and optical properties of diodes based on these materials are characterized by current-voltage, optical responsivity, and electroluminescence measurements. These show improved optical performance near yc with tunable emission out to 2500 nm. Measuring the carrier lifetimes in devices with strain relaxed and fully strained interfaces show significantly longer lifetimes in the fully strained case.
The direct and indirect band gaps of Sn-rich (y > x) Ge1-x-ySixSny materials are measured by room temperature photoluminescence on optimized samples. These data confirm a transition to direct gap materials occurs for the ternary alloy as well. Devices based on compositions 0.02 ≤ x ≤ 0.10 and 0.03 ≤ y ≤ 0.11 are characterized by current-voltage, optical responsivity, and electroluminescence measurements and show competitive performance with analogous devices based on Ge1-ySny materials. A detailed study of the direct gap in Ge1-xSix alloys gives parameters crucial en route to a global description of the Ge1-x-ySixSny fundamental band gaps.
Archetypal laser device designs on Si are explored by fabricating degenerate pn junction diodes and highly doped waveguide devices based on high-quality Ge1-ySny materials. The diodes showed tunnel-like current-voltage characteristics and tailored electroluminescence based on the doping profile. The waveguides demonstrate emission under optical stimulation.