Document Type


Date of Degree


Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In


First Advisor

John P. Prineas


InAs/GaSb superlattices are a material system well suited to growth via molecular beam epitaxy. The ability to tune the band gap over the entire mid and long wave infrared spectrum gives a large number of applications for devices made from InAs/GaSb superlattice material. The growth of high quality InAs/GaSb superlattice material requires a careful study of the parameters used during epitaxial growth. This work investigates the growth of tunnel junctions for InAs/GaSb based superlattice light emitting diodes, the presence of defects in GaSb homoepitaxial layers, and variations in the growth rate of InAs/GaSb superlattice samples.

Tunnel junctions in cascaded structures must provide adequate barriers to prevent carriers from leaking from one emission region to the next without first recombining radiatively, while at the same time remain low in tunneling resistance for current recycling. A variety of tunnel junction designs are compared in otherwise identical four stage InAs/GaSb superlattice light emitting diodes, which past studies have found hole confinement to be problematic. GaSb was used on the p-side of the junction, while various materials were used on the n-side. Al0.20In0.80As0.73Sb0.27 tunnel junctions function best due to the combination of favorable band alignment and ease of growth.

Pyramidal defects have been observed in layers of GaSb grown by molecular beam epitaxy on GaSb substrates. These defects are typically 3-8 nanometers high, 1-3 microns in diameter, and shaped like pyramids. Their occurrence in the growth of GaSb buffer layers can propagate into subsequent layers. Defects are nucleated during the early stages of growth after the thermal desorption of native oxide from the GaSb substrate. These defects grow into pyramids due to a repulsive Ehrlich-Schwoebel potential on atomic step edges leading to an upward adatom current. The defects reduce in density with growth of GaSb. The insertion of a thin AlAsSb layer into the early stages of the GaSb buffer increases the rate of elimination of the defects, resulting in a smooth surface within 500nm. The acceleration of defect reduction is due to the temporary interruption of step-flow growth induced by the AlAsSb layer. This leads to a reduced isolation of the pyramids from the GaSb epitaxial layer, and allows the pyramidal defects to smooth out.

Investigations into varying the superlattice growth rate have not been reported widely in the literature. Due to the frequent use of soaks, growth interrupts, and other interface structuring steps the superlattice growth rate and the interface layer sequence are linked. In order to properly study the effects of growth rate variations and interface design changes it is necessary to account for the effect on growth rate due to the interfaces. To this end it is useful to think of the effective growth rate of the superlattice, which is the total layer thickness divided by the total time, per superlattice period. Varying the effective growth rate of superlattice photoluminescence samples shows a peak in output at ˜ 0.5 monolayers per second. Investigations into the structural properties of the superlattices show no decrease in structural uniformity for effective growth rates up to ˜ 1.4 monolayers per second.


Epitaxy, GaSb, InAs/GaSb, MBE, Superlattice


xi, 107 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 103-107).


Copyright 2012 Lee Murray

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