Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Fabrication and characterization of low-dimensional structures for optoelectronic device applications
by Nataraj, Latha, D.Eng., University of Delaware, 2010, 183; 3440493
Abstract (Summary)

Low-dimensional structures can be defined as structures and components with novel and improved physical, chemical, and biological properties that result in new phenomena and processes due to their nanoscale size. This work, discusses the fabrication and characterization of low-dimensional structures such as Germanium-rich islands on Silicon, Germanium nanocrystals, Silicon nanomembranes, and quantum dot and quantum well structures made from III-V compounds, that have applications in on-chip and inter-chip optical interconnects, novel photovoltaic devices, and other optoelectronic devices.

Silicon-Germanium quantum dots have been receiving considerable attention lately as a means to achieve high-performance hybrid photonics circuitry within CMOS platforms. Strain in Silicon-Germanium heterostructures has shown increased carrier mobility that leads to better performance. Moderate tensile strains in combination with heavy n-type doping have proven to favor direct band-to-band radiative recombination in Germanium, at optical telecommunication wavelengths. Self-assembled doped Germanium islands on Silicon have shown improved light-emission properties at telecommunication wavelengths with higher activation energies and improved ratio of radiative to non-radiative recombination. It is well known that the Stranski-Krastinov growth mode of these islands by molecular-beam-epitaxy is based on the strain due to the 4.2% lattice mismatch between the Germanium and Silicon atoms. Therefore it is extremely important to understand the strain in these structures and their influence on the optical properties of the islands, using various characterization techniques such as Raman spectroscopy, absorption measurements, photoluminescence spectroscopy, temperature-dependent, excitation-intensity-dependent, and time-resolved photoluminescence and spectroscopy.

Band-engineered Germanium nanocrystals are considered to be highly promising for Silicon photonics integration due the near-direct band structure of the material. Germanium is fully-compatible with CMOS and the nanocrystals provide stronger confinement than Silicon nanocrystals due to the higher dielectric constant and larger Bohr-radius. In addition, large Germanium nanocrystals provide efficient emission, at room temperature, in the spectral range suitable for optical telecommunications. Fabrication of free-standing Germanium nanocrystals has been successful using a simple and inexpensive process. Their excellent light-emission properties, simple fabrication, and compatibility with standard microelectronic processes make them highly attractive for Silicon photonics integration and it is essential to understand their structural and optical properties. Raman spectroscopy, high-resolution-transmission-electron-microscopy, excitation-intensity-dependent photoluminescence spectroscopy, and time-resolved photoluminescence spectroscopy are used to gain insight into the structural properties, strain, photo-emission and recombination mechanisms in these structures.

Thin, flexible semiconductor nanoscale membranes are superior platforms for high-performance flexible optoelectronic devices and high-efficiency flexible solar cell designs. Existing processes are extremely complicated and expensive. We develop a simple and inexpensive process for the fabrication of Silicon thin films for application in flexible solar cells. The structural properties are studied with techniques such as surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy. Further characterization of optical properties and strain are being contemplated using x-ray diffraction, photoluminescence spectroscopy, and Raman spectroscopy techniques.

In addition, this work will discuss the optical characterization of various III-V materials systems such as Gallium-Arsenide/Gallium-Arsenide-Antimonide and Indium-Gallium-Arsenide/Gallium-Arsenide to study effects of surface passivation using Antimony and delta doping in these structures. These structures are of great interest for lasers and photodetectors in the long wavelength range and novel photovoltaic devices such as intermediate band solar cells. Room temperature photoluminescence spectroscopy and variations such as excitation-intensity dependent and temperature-dependent spectroscopy techniques have been used to determine emission properties and sub-band level occupancies and other structural characteristics such as defect densities and crystal quality.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Cloutier, Sylvain G.
Commitee: Buma, Takashi, Kolodzey, James S., Zide, Joshua M.
School: University of Delaware
Department: Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
School Location: United States -- Delaware
Source: DAI-B 72/04, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Electrical engineering
Keywords: Germanium quantum dots, Low-dimensional structures, Nanocrystals, Nanomembrane, Silicon photonics, Silicon/germanium islands
Publication Number: 3440493
ISBN: 9781124479811
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