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Vacancy complexes in nonequilibrium germanium-tin semiconductors

Assali, S.; Elsayed, M.; Nicolas, J.; Liedke, M. O.; Wagner, A.; Butterling, M.; Krause-Rehberg, R.; Moutanabbir, O.


Depth-profiled pulsed low-energy positron annihilation lifetime spectroscopy and Doppler broadening spectroscopy were combined to identify vacancy-related complexes and probe their evolution as a function of Sn content in GeSn epitaxial layers. Regardless of the Sn content in the 6.5-13.0 at.% range, all GeSn samples showed the same depth-dependent increase in the positron annihilation line broadening parameters, relative to that of epitaxial and bulk Ge references thus confirming the formation of open volume defects during growth. The measured average positron lifetimes were found to be the highest (380-395 ps) in the region near the surface and monotonically decrease across the analyzed thickness, but remain above 350 ps. All GeSn layers exhibit average lifetimes that are 20 to 160 ps higher than those recorded for the Ge reference. Surprisingly, these lifetimes were found to decrease as Sn content increases in GeSn layers. These measurements indicate that divacancies are the dominant defect in the as-grown GeSn layers. However, their corresponding lifetime was found to be shorter than in epitaxial Ge thus suggesting that the presence of Sn may alter the structure of divacancies. Additionally, GeSn layers were found to also contain a small fraction of vacancy clusters, which become less important as Sn concentration increases. The interaction and possible pairing between Sn and vacancies have been proposed to explain the reduced formation of larger vacancy clusters in GeSn when Sn content increases.

Keywords: GeSn semiconductor; positron annihilation lifetime spectroscopy; Doppler broadening spectroscopy; vacancy complexes; open volume defects divacancies vacancy clusters

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