Consideration of the Intricacies Inherent in Molecular Beam Epitaxy of the NaCl/GaAs System

Brelon May, Jae Jin Kim, Patrick Walker, William McMahon, Helio Moutinho, Aaron Ptak, David Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus Citations


The high cost of substrates for III-V growth can be cost limiting for technologies that require large semiconductor areas. Thus, being able to separate device layers and reuse the original substrate is highly desirable, but existing techniques to lift a film from a substrate have substantial drawbacks. This work discusses some of the complexities with the growth of a water-soluble, alkali halide salt thin film between a III-V substrate and overlayer. Much of the difficulty stems from the growth of GaAs on an actively decomposing NaCl surface at elevated temperatures. Interestingly, the presence of an in situ electron beam incident on the NaCl surface, prior to and during GaAs deposition, affects the crystallinity and morphology of the III-V overlayer. Here, we investigate a wide range of growth temperatures and the timing of the impinging flux of both elemental sources and high energy electrons at different points during the growth. We show that an assortment of morphologies (discrete islands, porous material, and fully dense layers with sharp interfaces) and crystallinity (amorphous, crystalline, and highly textured) occur depending on the specific growth conditions, driven largely by changes in GaAs nucleation which is greatly affected by the presence of the reflection high energy electron diffraction beam.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)24353-24364
Number of pages12
JournalACS Omega
Issue number28
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 American Chemical Society. All rights reserved.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5900-82044


  • GaAs
  • III-V
  • molecular beam epitaxy
  • NaCl
  • photovoltaic
  • PV
  • reflection high-energy electron diffraction
  • substrate recycling


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