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This paper reviews our recent investigations of compound semiconductors and heterovalent interfaces using the technique of aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscopy. Bright-field imaging of compound semiconductors with a collection angle that is comparable in size to the incident-beam convergence angle is demonstrated to provide better atomic-column visibility for lighter elements in comparison with the more traditional high-angle annular-dark-field approach. Several pairs of Group II–VI/Group III–V compound semiconductors with zincblende structure have been studied in detail. These combinations are all valence-mismatched (i.e., heterovalent), and include CdTe/InSb (Δa/a ≤ 0.05%), ZnTe/InP (Δa/a = 3.8%), and ZnTe/GaAs (Δa/a = 7.4%). CdTe/InSb (001) interfaces are observed to be defect-free with a slight lattice contraction at the interface plane. For interfaces with larger lattice-parameter mismatch, the primary interfacial defects are identified as Lomer edge dislocations and perfect 60° dislocations. However, the atomic structure of the dislocation cores has not yet been unambiguously determined.
The mean inner potential (MIP) and inelastic mean free path (IMFP) of undoped ZnTe are determined using a combination of off-axis electron holography and convergent beam electron diffraction. The ZnTe MIP is measured to be 13.7±0.6 V, agreeing with previously reported simulations, and the IMFP at 200 keV is determined to be 46±2 nm for a collection angle of 0.75 mrad. Dynamical effects affecting holographic phase imaging as a function of incident beam direction for several common semiconductors are systematically studied and compared using Bloch wave simulations. These simulation results emphasize the need for careful choice of specimen orientation when carrying out quantitative electron holography studies in order to avoid erroneous phase measurements.
Spatial ordering of InAs quantum dots was attained by using misfit dislocations generated in a metastable InGaAs layer by means of thermal annealing. Influence of quantum dot positional ordering and dot proximity to dislocation arrays on carrier dynamics was studied by timeresolved photoluminescence. Substantially narrower inhomogeneous broadening from the ordered quantum dots was observed. Excitation intensity dependence of the photoluminescence intensity and carrier lifetime indicates stronger influence of nonradiative recombination for the ordered quantum dot structures. Numerical simulations allow estimating electron and hole capture rates from the quantum dots to traps located either at the quantum dot interfaces or in the vicinity of the quantum dots.
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