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Evolution of structural and electronic properties of highly mismatched InSb films

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The American Institute of Physics
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Abstract

We have investigated the evolution of structural and electronic properties of highly mismatched InSb films, with thicknesses ranging from 0.1 to 1.5 μm. Atomic force microscopy, cross-sectional transmission electron microscopy, and high-resolution x-ray diffraction show that the 0.1 μm films are nearly fully relaxed and consist of partially coalesced islands, which apparently contain threading dislocations at their boundaries. As the film thickness increases beyond 0.2 μm, the island coalescence is complete and the residual strain is reduced. Although the epilayers have relaxed equally in the 〈110〉 in-plane directions, the epilayer rotation about an in-plane axis (epilayer tilt) is not equal in both 〈110〉 in-plane directions. Interestingly, the island-like surface features tend to be preferentially elongated along the axis of epilayer tilt. Furthermore, epilayer tilt which increases the substrate offcut (reverse tilt) is evident in the [110] direction. High-resolution transmission electron microscopy indicates that both pure-edge and 60° misfit dislocations contribute to the relaxation of strain. In addition, as the film thickness increases, the threading dislocation density decreases, while the corresponding room-temperature electron mobility increases. The other structural features, including the residual strain, and the surface and interface roughness, do not appear to impact the electron mobility in these InSb films. Together, these results suggest that free-carrier scattering from the threading dislocations is the primary room-temperature mobility-limiting mechanism in highly mismatched InSb films. Finally, we show quantitatively that free-carrier scattering from the lattice dilation associated with threading dislocations, rather than scattering from a depletion potential surrounding the dislocations, is the dominant factor limiting the electron mobility. © 2000 American Institute of Physics.

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