Germanium alloys for optoelectronic devices
Silicon has been the backbone of the mainstream electronics of the last fifty years. It is however, used in conjunction with other matierals, mainly with its oxides and nitrides. Germanium, on the other hand, is also a group IV element and has been used in the early stages of transistor and detector development. In addition to Si/Ge heterojunctions, bandgap engineering through SiGe alloys has also been used in photodetectors. Recent progress in light emitting devices utilizing Si nanocrystals suggest the use of Ge1-xNx layers as barriers due to its suitable band offsets . Experiments have shown that Ge1-xNx is also a promising material for applications in photodiodes, amplifiers, optic fibers, protective coatings, etc . Both Si and Ge are, however indirect bandgap semiconductors, lacking efficient light emission. On the other hand, strong light emission observed in Si nanocrystals has made the study of semiconductor nanocrystals an expanding field of interest due to potential applications in novel optoelectronic devices . These nanocrystals exhibit strong luminescence and nonlinear optical properties that usually do not appear in the bulk materials . SiGe nanocrystals attract attention due to the possibility of a tunable band gap with composition. In this study, formation of Ge1-xNx thin films and SiGe nanocrystals by plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) reactor has been studied. We present the growth conditions and experimental characterization of the resulting thin films and nanocrystals. We used ellipsometry, Raman Spectrometry, Fourier Infrared Spectrometry (FTIR) and X-ray photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS). For SiGe nanocrystals, 4 peaks in the Raman Spectra were observed around 295 cm-1, 400 cm -1, 485 cm-1 and 521 cm-1. These peaks are assigned to the Ge-Ge, Si-Ge, local Si-Si and crystalline Si-Si vibrational modes, respectively . For the Ge1-xNx thin films FTIR spectrum showed the existence of the Ge-N bonds and its band offsets determined by XPS confirm its suitability for optoelectronic devices.