University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Hitachi Cambridge Seminar Series > Advanced epitaxy of the group IV (Si-Ge-C-Sn) semiconductors

Advanced epitaxy of the group IV (Si-Ge-C-Sn) semiconductors

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Epitaxy is a process of growing a crystal of a particular orientation on top of another crystal, where the orientation is determined by the underlying crystal. The over layer is called an epitaxial film, epitaxial layer or epilayer. Since 1950’s epitaxial growth has been a key factor in the development of modern technologies based on semiconductor materials. They are the foundation of modern electronic, photonic, photovoltaic, thermoelectric and many other semiconductor devices. Anything that is computerized or uses radio waves contains semiconductor devices. Nowadays, it is crucial to produce thin layers and multilayers with high crystallographic quality, sharp interfaces, and homogeneous doping. Access to miniaturization allows the design and achievement of materials with artificial properties, which are not found in natural elements or compounds in bulk form. Due to the precise control over chemical composition, doping, and crystal size made possible by modern epitaxial methods, one can obtain entirely novel physical properties that are often based on quantum phenomena arising from the confinement of charge carriers in very tiny volumes, where low-dimensional effects play an important role.

Today, most semiconductor devices are fabricated of Silicon (Si). Novel group IV semiconductor epitaxial structures created of Silicon (Si), Germanium (Ge), Carbon (C ) or Tin (Sn) on a Si substrate is a natural evolution in improvement of properties of modern state of the art Si devices and expanding their existing functionalities. They underpin application of these materials with new or enhanced properties in photonic, photovoltaic, thermoelectric, spintronic, microelectromechanical systems/nanoelectromechanical systems (MEMS/NEMS), sensor and many other devices. Advanced epitaxial techniques, such as chemical vapour deposition (CVD) and molecular beam epitaxy (MBE), enable control of the epilayers thickness to monolayer accuracy. Many advanced metamaterials such as multiple quantum wells (QWs) and superlattices are fabricated routinely using such epitaxial growth techniques in both research laboratories and industrial manufacturing facilities around the world. Although these structures and devices are of great importance by themselves, a more exciting future for various devices and systems on chip requires planar integration of individual devices to achieve compactness, lower loss, higher robustness, and more superior performance. In particular, there is great interest in creating such structures by a mass production technique such as reduced pressure CVD (RPCVD). It offers the major advantage of unprecedented wafer scalability and is nowadays routinely used by leading companies in the semiconductor industry to grow epitaxial layers on Si wafers of up to 300 mm diameter. A brief overview of recent achievements in the advanced epitaxy of the group IV semiconductors and underpinning of the new materials properties and potential devices applications will be presented.

This talk is part of the Hitachi Cambridge Seminar Series series.

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