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Rapid Thermal Processing for Strained-Layer Semiconductor Devices

  • John C. Zolper (a1) and David R. Myers (a1)


Strained-layer semiconductors have revolutionized modern heterostructure devices by exploiting the modification of semiconductor band structure associated with the coherent strain of lattice-mismatched heteroepitaxy. The modified band structure improves transport of holes in heterostructures and enhances the operation of semiconductor lasers. Strainedlayer epitaxy also can create materials whose band gaps match wavelengths (e. g. 1.06 μm and 1.32 μm) not attainable in ternary epitaxial systems lattice matched to binary substrates. Other benefits arise from metallurgical effects of modulated strain fields on dislocations.

Lattice mismatched epitaxial layers that exceed the limits of equilibrium thermodynamics will degrade under sufficient thermal processing by converting the as-grown coherent epitaxy into a network of strain-relieving dislocations. After presenting the effects of strain on band structure, we describe the stability criterion for rapid-thermal processing of strained-layer structures and the effects of exceeding the thermodynamic limits. Finally, device results are reviewed for structures that benefit from high temperature processing of strained-layer superlattices.



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