GeSn-on-GaAs with Photoconductive Carrier Lifetime >400 ns: Role of Substrate Orientation and Atomistic Simulation

Sengunthar Karthikeyan, Steven Johnston, Dhammapriy Gayakwad, Suddhasatta Mahapatra, Robert Bodnar, Jing Zhao, Rutwik Joshi, Mantu Hudait

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Group IV GeSn quantum material finds application in electronics and silicon-compatible photonics. Synthesizing these materials with low defect density and high carrier lifetime is a potential challenge due to lattice mismatch induced defects and tin segregation at higher growth temperature. Recent advancements in the growth of these GeSn materials on Si, Ge, GaAs, and with substrate orientations, demonstrated different properties using epitaxial and chemical deposition methods. This article addresses the effect of GaAs substrate orientation and misorientation on the materials' properties and carrier lifetimes in epitaxial Ge0.94Sn0.06 layers. With starting GaAs substrates of (100)/2 degrees, (100)/6 degrees, (110) and (111)A orientations, Ge0.94Sn0.06 epitaxial layers were grown with an intermediate Ge buffer layer by molecular beam epitaxy and analyzed by several analytical tools. X-ray analysis displayed good crystalline quality, and Raman spectroscopy measurements showed blue shifts in phonon wavenumber due to biaxial compressive strain in Ge0.94Sn0.06 epilayers. Cross-sectional transmission electron microscopy analysis confirmed the defect-free heterointerface of Ge0.94Sn0.06/Ge/GaAs heterostructure. Minority carrier lifetimes of the unintentionally doped n-type Ge0.94Sn0.06 epilayers displayed photoconductive carrier lifetimes of >400 ns on (100)/6 degrees, 319 ns on (100)/2 degrees, and 434 ns on (110) GaAs substrate at 1500 nm excitation wavelength. On the other hand, Ge0.94Sn0.06 layer showed poor carrier lifetime on (111)A GaAs substrate. The observed differences in carrier lifetimes were correlated with the formation energy of the Ge on (100)/6 degrees and (100)/2 degrees GaAs heterointerface using Stillinger-Weber interatomic potential model-based atomistic simulation with different heterointerfacial bonding by Synopsys QuantumATK tool. Total energy computation of 6280-atom Ge/GaAs supercell on (100)/6 degrees leads to lower formation energy than (100)/2 degrees, making it more thermodynamically stable. Hence, the growth of the GeSn/III-V material system using misoriented (100) substrates that are more thermodynamically stable will enhance the performances of optoelectronic devices.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)7225-7236
Number of pages12
Issue number14
StatePublished - 2024

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5K00-89609


  • GaAs
  • GeSn
  • photoconductivity


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