To reach the full theoretical potential advantages of ideal Quantum Dots (QDs) for diode lasers and photodetectors, elimination of the wetting layer, which is inherent to self-assembled QDs of Stranski-Krastnow (SK) growth mode, and achieving a uniform mono-modal QD size distribution is needed. The SK QD approach is complicated by the randomness of the QD size distribution and inherent presence of the wetting layer. These factors have been experimentally identified as the underlying cause for low optical gain and high temperature sensitivity in diode lasers which result from carrier leakage out of the QDs into the wetting layer.
An alternate approach to QD formation is the use of nanopatterning with diblock copolymers combined with selective MOCVD growth. We utilize cylinder-forming PS-b-PMMA which have the ability of preserving the hole size through the pattern transfer procedures. The combination of diblock copolymer lithography with selective MOCVD growth of the QDs could lead to a higher degree of control over QD shape, size uniformity, and composition over the self-assembly process. Since the SK self-assembly process is not employed, the problematic wetting layer states are eliminated and improved optical gain can be expected. Control over the QD height, shape, and strain, also allows for the design of increased energy spacing between ground and excited QD states and hence a wider control or selection of the emission wavelengths. Since the QD strain is decoupled from the size, the process also has potential for achieving longer wavelength emission compared with SK QDs. On a GaAs substrate, hexagonally arranged uniform size QD arrays have been fabricated. The QD patterning is prepared by dense nanoscale diblock copolymer lithography, which consists of perpendicularly ordered cylindrical domains of polystyrene-block-poly(methylmethacrylate) (PS-b-PMMA) matrix. To transfer polymer patterns to QD arrays, two mask materials have been taken under consideration. Firstly, to characterize the profile and distribution of the QDs, a dielectric template mask was utilized and the polymer patterning is transferred on it. After the pattern transfer to the dielectric and subsequent removal of the polymer, single crystal GaAs QDs are selectively grown by MOCVD. SEM images indicate that the QD density is larger than 5×10^10/cm2, comparable to SK growth mode and the size distribution peaks at a 12nm diameter. Finally, to grow QDs and subsequently cover the QDs in situ, an AlxGa1-xAs template mask is being investigated. After the pattern transfer to a 15nm thick AlGaAs template layer using RIE, the native oxide on the patterned AlGaAs surface acts as a selective growth mask for InAs QDs. After deposition of the QDs, capping layers can be grown on QDs without removing the sample from the reactor. We are currently investigating optimal growth conditions for covering the QDs and characterizing the photoluminescence. University of Wisconsin -Madison gratefully acknowledges support from the ARO MURI W911NF-05-1-0262 (Dr. John Prater) and NSF NSEC DMR-0425880.