S. Q. Lim, L. Q. Huston,L. A. Smillie; G. J. Grzybowsk, X. Huang; J. S. Williams; BB Claflin
Germanium–tin (GeSn) alloys at sufficiently high Sn concentration, above several atomic percent, are the only group IV semiconductor exhibiting a direct bandgap and have generated much recent interest for optoelectronic applications into the mid-infrared region. Because the large lattice mismatch between GeSn and Si results in considerable strain for thin layers and a high defect density for thicker strain-relaxed layers, most reported GeSn growths incorporate a Ge buffer layer rather than depositing directly on Si substrates. Published reports of GeSn growth directly on Si utilize specialized precursors such as higher order germanes (Ge2H6, Ge3H8, or Ge4H10) or SnD4. In this paper, we report GeSn films with up to 10.6% Sn grown directly on Si substrates by remote plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition using GeH4 and SnCl4 precursors. These alloys have been characterized in detail using x-ray diffraction (XRD), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and Rutherford backscattering spectrometry with channeling (RBS-C), as well as Raman spectroscopy (RS) and optical microscopy. The films studied are almost fully relaxed, with small residual strain observed, particularly in thinner films, and contain a high interface density of misfit dislocations that increases with Sn concentration. The defect density decreases toward the surface. Good agreement is found between the various characterization methods for the Sn content (XRD and RBS-C), lattice parameter measurement (XRD and TEM), and defect characterization (RBS-C, TEM, and RS). Such characterization of GeSn grown directly on Si substrates is essential to allow growth parameters to be optimized for the realization of the attractive optoelectronic properties of these alloys.