Coalescence of GaP on V-Groove Si

Theresa Saenz, John Mangum, Olivia Schneble, Anica Neumann, Bill McMahon, Ryan France, Jeramy Zimmerman, Emily Warren

Research output: NRELPresentation


With an increase of control over crystalline defects, metallorganic vapor phase epitaxy (MOVPE)-grown III-V-on-Si multijunction solar cells have seen rapid increases in efficiency in recent years, pointing to a promising path to lower cost III-V solar cells. However, the cost of chemo-mechanical polishing the Si wafers to prepare them for epitaxy is high. The use of V-groove nanopatterns enables similar defect reduction to that achieved on planar wafers, but the nanopatterns can be fabricated with a low-cost process. While V-grooves offer advantages over planar Si, they add complexity to the growth process. In particular, coalescence can cause the formation of threading dislocations, and the highly-directional growth conditions required for coalescence are unusual for MOVPE. We have studied the coalescence of GaP films nucleated directly on V-groove Si by MOVPE. We observed that for optimized growth conditions (V/III=5,000 and T=800 C) two growth modes were possible, and the resulting morphology depended on the exact geometry of the SiNx cap used to cover the (0 0 1)-oriented Si at the tops of the grooves. For caps with a width >100 nm, noncoalescing, nano ridge-like growth terminating in f1 1 1g facets was observed. For narrower caps, coalescence with an RMS roughness of 0.2 nm as measured by atomic force microscopy was observed. We will discuss mechanisms responsible for this phenomenon, including the role of Si from the substrate surface. The dislocation dynamics of this system were studied with electron channeling contrast imaging (ECCI) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). We find that V-grooves do not block dislocation glide; ECCI measurements show misfit dislocations greater than 10 micrometers long observed to continue perpendicularly across neighboring V-grooves. In addition, all threading dislocations appear to lie on f1 1 1g planes, consistent with the GaP relaxing via glided-in glissile dislocations. The dislocation dynamics and morphological evolution of the coalescence of GaP on Si, possible mechanisms behind the observed phenomenons, and further dislocation mitigation strategies for these materials will be presented.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages13
StatePublished - 2022

Publication series

NamePresented at the MRS Spring Meeting, 8-13 May 2022, Honolulu, Hawaii

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PR-5900-81319


  • dislocation dynamics
  • ECCI
  • electron channeling contrast etching
  • GaP
  • metallorganic vapor phase epitaxy
  • photovoltaic
  • PV
  • Si substrate
  • TEM
  • transmission electron microscopy


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