Mar 10, 2017
Semiconductor nanowire on silicon covers the entire mid-infrared
Monolithically heterogeneous integration with silicon for III-V materials - as the most optically efficient materials - has been of great interest over the past few decades. In particular hybrid structures of III-V one-dimensional nanowires on silicon are one of the main candidates for silicon-based photonic integrated circuits with high integration density. One promising device based on these structures is a highly sensitive infrared focal plane array on silicon CMOS, which has wide applications in many important fields. However, the difficulty in making nanowires operating in mid- and far-infrared wavelength bands remains a challenge that impedes progress. Reporting in Nanotechnology, researchers in the Quantum Technology Centre at Lancaster University demonstrate the success of optically efficient InAsSb nanowires on silicon enabling silicon photonics operating across the whole mid-infrared spectral range (e.g. 2-5 μm).
Using an advanced technique of droplet-assisted molecular beam epitaxy that was developed in their group, the researchers successfully increased antimony incorporation in the nanowires with high optical properties. This technology solved the long-standing challenge in the growth of optically efficient antimony containing nanowires. Their nanowires exhibit photoluminescence up to room temperature with the longest wavelength being 5.1 μm, and show a complete pure zinc-blende crystalline phase.
The success of these nanowires makes a step towards silicon-based infrared focal plane arrays. The researchers are currently developing highly sensitive room-temperature infrared photodetectors based on their nanowires. They are also exploring the advantages of the high mobility and photovoltaic favourable features for device applications in silicon-based high-mobility transistors and sustainable energy generation including cost-effective thermoelectric and thermophotovoltaic cells, in collaboration with the Chinese Academy of Science and Tsinghua University in China.
Full details are reported in Nanotechnology.
About the author
Dr Qiandong Zhuang is a senior lecturer and a group leader in the Department of Physics, Lancaster University, UK. His research focuses on advanced optoelectronic electrical nanodevices based on MBE and CVD grown semiconductor quantum materials and their hybrid structures integrating with Si and 2D materials. This work was in collaboration with Chinese researchers: Prof J Shao at Shanghai Institute of Technical Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China, who leads work on the novel infrared spectroscopic methods and their applications on condensed matters, and Prof Y-C Cao at Key Laboratory of Optoelectronic Chemical Materials and Devices, Jianghan University, China, who is leading a research group focused on functional materials for advanced quantum devices and green energy generation.