Three InAs/GaAs single quantum wells of 2, 3, and 4 monolayer thickness were characterized using optical and structural techniques. The results of high-resolution transmission electron (HRTEM) microscopy and optical studies which combine absorption, photoluminescence (PL), photoreflectance and cathodoluminescence are presented.
Using the polarization modulated absorptance technique we observed two absorption features in our samples at 77 K. On the basis of their polarization properties and comparison with an envelope function calculation, these structures are assigned to transitions between the confined heavy-hole and confined and unconfined electron levels. Photoreflectance spectra of the 3- monolayer sample in 77-300 K range show only the fundamental quantum well transition. The temperature dependence of this transition is approximately linear with a slope of 2.2·10−4 eV/K which is significantly lower than in both constituent materials.
Comparison to the absorption data reveals that the PL spectra are affected by the carrier diffusion and therefore do not provide direct measure of the exciton density of states. Therefore, photoluminescence results alone do not provide unequivocal information about the fundamental transition energy or the interface quality in quantum wells.
The HRTEM images indicate that while the interfaces of the 2-monolayer sample are smooth and the well thickness is uniform, the 4-monolayer sample has uneven interfaces and contains domains of 2, 3, and 4 monolayers. In agreement with these observations, absorption features broaden with the increased well width. Scanning cathodoluminescence images of the 2- monolayer sample present no evidence of dislocations, which is consistent with the HRTEM observations.