Reverse Epitaxy on Semiconductor Surfaces

Reverse Epitaxy on Semiconductor Surfaces

Ou, X.; Hübner, R.; Helm, M.; Fassbender, J.; Facsko, S.

Arrays of semiconductor nanostructures are emerging as building blocks for next generation of electronic and optoelectronic nanodevices. In molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) the continuous deposition of atoms can lead to growth of self-organized 3D nanostructures. One of the possible surface instabilities, which is responsible for this kind of growth, is caused by the Ehrlich-Schwoebel (ES) barrier, i.e. an additional diffusion barrier for ad-atoms to cross terrace steps [1]. The arriving atoms are trapped on terraces and can again nucleate to form new terraces. This mechanism leads to the growth of pyramidal mounds on the surface with facets corresponding to energetically favored crystal planes. An analogous mechanism is also observed on ion irradiated surfaces. However, ion sputtering leads to the erosion of the surfaces and at room temperature semiconductor surfaces become amorphous. At these conditions various periodic patterns are observed. [2] For device fabrication, a crystalline surface of high quality is indispensable.
In this talk, we demonstrate single crystal elemental (Si and Ge) and compound semiconductor (III-V) nanostructure pattern formation (Figure 1) based on a “reverse epitaxy” process. [3] Vacancies created during ion beam irradiation at elevated temperature distribute according to the crystallographic anisotropy, which results in an orientation-dependent pattern formation on single crystal semiconductor surfaces. This process shows nicely the equivalence of epitaxy with deposited adatoms and “reverse epitaxy” with ion induced surface vacancies on semiconductors. The formation of these patterns is interpreted as the result of a surface instability due to an Ehrlich-Schwoebel barrier for ion induced surface vacancies. The simulation of the pattern formation is performed by a continuum equation accounting for the effective surface currents. Our work establishes an entirely new and complementary epitaxial method for the fabrication of high-quality faceted semiconductor nanostructures. The potential application of reverse epitaxy on fabrication of quantum devices and optical components will be discussed.
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Keywords: ion sputtering

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Publ.-Id: 21327