Carrier Recombination Dynamics of Surface-Passivated Epitaxial (100)Ge, (110)Ge, and (111)Ge Layers by Atomic Layer Deposited Al2O3

Mantu Hudait, Steven Johnston, Manash Das, Sengunthar Karthikeyan, Partha Sahu, Jagat Das, Jing Zhao, Robert Bodnar, Rutwik Joshi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus Citations


Germanium (Ge) and its heterostructures with compound semiconductors offer a unique optoelectronic functionality due to its pseudo-bandgap nature, that can be transformed to a direct bandgap material by providing strain and/or mixing with tin. Moreover, two crystal surfaces, (100)Ge and (110)Ge, that are technologically important for ultralow power fin or nanosheet transistors, could offer unprecedented properties with reduced surface defects after passivating these surfaces by atomic layer deposited (ALD) dielectrics. In this work, the crystallographically oriented epitaxial Ge/AlAs heterostructures were grown and passivated with ALD Al2O3 dielectrics, and the microwave photoconductive decay (u-PCD) technique was employed to evaluate carrier lifetimes at room temperature. The X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy analysis reveals no role of orientation effect in the quality of the ALD Al2O3 dielectric on oriented Ge layers. The carrier lifetimes measured using the u-PCD technique were benchmarked against unpassivated Ge/AlAs heterostructures. Excitation wavelengths of 1500 and 1800 nm with an estimated injection level of ~10^13 cm-3 were selected to measure the orientation-specific carrier lifetimes. The carrier lifetime was increased from 390 ns to 565 ns for (100)Ge and from 260 ns to 440 ns for (110)Ge orientations with passivation, whereas the carrier lifetime is almost unchanged for (111)Ge after passivation. This behavior indicates a strong dependence of the measured lifetime on surface orientation and surface passivation. The observed increase (>1.5x) in lifetime with Al2O3-passivated (100)Ge and (110)Ge surfaces is due to the lower surface recombination velocity compared to unpassivated Ge/AlAs heterostructures. The enhancement of carrier lifetime from passivated Ge/AlAs heterostructures with (100)Ge and (110)Ge surface orientations offers a path for the development of nanoscale transistors due to the reduced interface state density.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)3350-3361
Number of pages12
JournalACS Applied Electronic Materials
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2023

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5K00-84766


  • Al2O3
  • atomic layer deposition
  • germanium
  • lifetime
  • molecular beam epitaxy
  • X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy


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