II–VI quantum dot formation induced by surface energy change of a strained layer

Tinjod, F.; Gilles, B.; Moehl, S.; Kheng, K.; Mariette, H.
June 2003
Applied Physics Letters;6/16/2003, Vol. 82 Issue 24, p4340
Academic Journal
A method for growing self-assembled II-VI quantum dots (QDs) is demonstrated: A highly strained CdTe layer, grown onto Zn(Mg)Te, is covered with an amorphous Te layer which is then desorbed. This induces QD formation, observed as an abrupt change of both the reflection high-energy electron diffraction pattern and the surface morphology studied by atomic force microscopy in an ultrahigh vacuum. The dots are also characterized after capping by microphotoluminescence. This morphology transition, which occurs after and not during the growth, can be understood in terms of variation of the surface energy in presence of the group-VI element, which compensates for the natural trend toward plastic relaxation in II-VI compounds. This method shows the strong influence of the surface energy (and not just the lattice mismatch) in inducing the formation of coherent islands for mismatched systems having a low dislocation formation energy such as CdTe/ZnTe and CdSe/ZnSe.


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