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  1. Two distinct ultra-thin Ge1−xSnx (x ≤ 0.1) epilayers were deposited on (001) Si substrates at 457 and 313 °C through remote plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition. These films are considered potential initiation layers for synthesizing thick epitaxial GeSn films. The GeSn film deposited at 313 °C has a thickness of 10 nm and exhibits a highly epitaxial continuous structure with its lattice being compressed along the interface plane to coherently match Si without mismatch dislocations. The GeSn film deposited at 457 °C exhibits a discrete epitaxial island-like morphology with a peak height of ∼30 nm and full-width half maximum (FWHM) varying from 20 to 100 nm. GeSn islands with an FWHM smaller than 20 nm are defect free, whereas those exceeding 25 nm encompass nanotwins and/or stacking faults. The GeSn islands form two-dimensional modulated superlattice structures at the interface with Si. The GeSn film deposited at 457 °C possesses a lower Sn content compared to the one deposited at lower temperature. The potential impact of using these two distinct ultra-thin layers as initiation layers for the direct growth of thicker GeSn epitaxial films on (001) Si substrates is discussed.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2025
  2. Growth of GeSn films directly on Si substrates is desirable for integrated photonics applications since the absence of an intervening buffer layer simplifies device fabrication. Here, we analyze the microstructure of two GeSn films grown directly on (001) Si by remote plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (RPECVD): a 1000 nm thick film containing 3% Sn and a 600 nm thick, 10% Sn film. Both samples consist of an epitaxial layer with nano twins below a composite layer containing nanocrystalline and amorphous. The epilayer has uniform composition, while the nanocrystalline material has higher levels of Sn than the surrounding amorphous matrix. These two layers are separated by an interface with a distinct, hilly morphology. The transition between the two layers is facilitated by formation of densely populated (111)-coupled nano twins. The 10% Sn sample exhibits a significantly thinner epilayer than the one with 3% Sn. The in-plane lattice mismatch between GeSn and Si induces a quasi-periodic misfit dislocation network along the interface. Film growth initiates at the interface through formation of an atomic-scale interlayer with reduced Sn content, followed by the higher Sn content epitaxial layer. A corrugated surface containing a high density of twins with elevated levels of Sn at the peaks begins forming at a critical thickness. Subsequent epitaxial breakdown at the peaks produces a composite containing high levels of Sn nanocrystalline embedded in lower level of Sn amorphous. The observed microstructure and film evolution provide valuable insight into the growth mechanism that can be used to tune the RPECVD process for improved film quality.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 28, 2025
  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2024
  4. Abstract

    Functional oxides are an untapped resource for futuristic devices and functionalities. These functionalities can range from high temperature superconductivity to multiferroicity and novel catalytic schemes. The most prominent route for transforming these ideas from a single device in the lab to practical technologies is by integration with semiconductors. Moreover, coupling oxides with semiconductors can herald new and unexpected functionalities that exist in neither of the individual materials. Therefore, oxide epitaxy on semiconductors provides a materials platform for novel device technologies. As oxides and semiconductors exhibit properties that are complementary to one another, epitaxial heterostructures comprised of the two are uniquely poised to deliver rich functionalities. This review discusses recent advancements in the growth of epitaxial oxides on semiconductors, and the electronic and physical structure of their interfaces. Leaning on these fundamentals and practicalities, the material behavior and functionality of semiconductor–oxide heterostructures is discussed, and their potential as device building blocks is highlighted. The culmination of this discussion is a review of recent advances in the development of prototype devices based on semiconductor–oxide heterostructures, in areas ranging from silicon photonics to photocatalysis. This overview is intended to stimulate ideas for new concepts of functional devices and lay the groundwork for their realization.

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