Determination of Critical Thickness for Epitaxial ZnTe Layers Grown by Molecular Beam Epitaxy on (211)B and (100) GaSb Substrates

Research paper by J. Chai, O. C. Noriega, A. Dedigama, J. J. Kim, A. A. Savage, K. Doyle, C. Smith, N. Chau, J. Pena, J. H. Dinan, D. J. Smith, T. H. Myers

Indexed on: 18 Jun '13Published on: 18 Jun '13Published in: Journal of Electronic Materials


Cross-section electron micrographs, cathodoluminescence images, and confocal photoluminescence (cPL) images have been acquired for ZnTe layers deposited to various thicknesses on GaSb substrates with (211)B and (100) orientations. The critical thickness of ZnTe on GaSb is predicted to range between 115 nm and 329 nm, depending on the theoretical approach chosen. For ZnTe layers grown on (211)B GaSb with thickness exceeding 150 nm, dark spots and lines are present in all images. We associate these with dislocations generated at the ZnTe/GaSb interface. The discrepancy between this thickness value and a critical thickness value (350 nm to 375 nm) obtained for the (211)B orientation in a previous study is related to the distinction between the onset of misfit dislocations and the onset of significant plastic deformation. The former requires a direct imaging technique, as strain-related measurements such as x-ray diffraction do not have the resolution to detect the effects of small numbers of dislocations. For ZnTe layers on (100) GaSb, x-ray diffraction measurements indicate an abrupt change characteristic of dislocation multiplication at a thickness value in the range from 250 nm to 275 nm. High-resolution electron micrographs of the ZnTe/GaSb interface indicate that deoxidation using atomic hydrogen produces GaSb surfaces suitable for ZnTe epitaxy. cPL images of a 1.2-μm-thick lattice-matched ZnTe0.99Se 0.01 layer grown on a 150-nm-thick ZnTe buffer layer on a (211)B GaSb substrate yield a threading dislocation density of ∼7 × 104 cm−2.