Near-infrared photodetectors based on Si/SiGe nanostructures
Abstract: Two types of photodetectors containing Ge/Si quantum dots have been fabricated based on materials grown by molecular beam epitaxy and characterized with several experimental techniques. The aim was to study new device architectures with the implementation of Ge nanostructures, in order to obtain high detection efficiency in the near infrared range at room temperature.Heterojunction bipolar phototransistors were fabricated with 10 Ge dot layers in the base-collector (b-c) junction. With the illumination of near infrared radiation at 1.31 to 1.55 µm, the incident light would excite the carriers. The applied field across the b-c junction caused hole transport into the base, leading to a reduced potential barrier between the emitter-base (e-b) junction. Subsequently, this resulted in enhanced injection of electrons across the base into the collector, i.e., forming an amplified photo-induced current. We have therefore obtained significantly enhanced photo-response for the Ge-dot based phototransistors, compared to corresponding quantum dot p-i-n photodiodes. Responsivity values up to 470 mA/W were measured at 1.31 µm using waveguide geometry, and ?2.5 A/W at 850 nm, while the dark current was as low as 0.01 mA/cm2 at –2 V.Metal-oxide field-effect phototransistors were also studied. These lateral detectors were processed with three terminals for source, drain and gate contacts. The Ge quantum dot layers were sandwiched between pseudomorphically grown SiGe quantum wells. The detector devices were processed using a multi-finger comb structure with an isolated gate contact on top of each finger and patterned metal contacts on the side edges for source and drain. It was found that the photo-responsivity was increased by a factor of more than 20 when a proper gate bias was applied. With VG above threshold, the measured response was 350 and >30 mA/W at 1.31 and 1.55 µm, respectively.Properties of Si/Si1-xGex nanostructures were examined, in order to facilitate proper design of the above mentioned transistor types of photodetectors. The carrier recombination processes were characterized by photoluminescence measurements, and the results revealed a gradual change from spatially indirect to direct transitions in type II Si1-xGex islands with increased measurement temperature. Energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry of buried Ge islands produced at different temperatures indicated a gradual decrease of the Ge concentration with temperature, which was due to the enhanced intermixing of Si and Ge atoms. At a deposition temperature of 730°C the Ge concentration was as low as around 40 %.Finally, the thermal stability of the Si/SiGe(110) material system, which is a promising candidate for future CMOS technology due to its high carrier mobility, was investigated by high resolution X-ray diffraction reciprocal space mapping. Anisotropic strain relaxation was observed with maximum in-plane lattice mismatch in the  direction.
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