This new method permits Ge (111) on sapphire (0001) epitaxy, rendering Ge an economically feasible replacement for Si in some applications, including higher efficiency Si/Ge/Si quantum well solar cells. Epitaxial SiGe films on sapphire showed a 280% increase in electron mobility and a 500% increase in hole mobility over single crystal Si. Moreover, Ge possesses a wider bandgap for solar spectrum conversion than Si, while the transparent sapphire substrate permits an inverted device structure, increasing the total efficiency to an estimated 30-40%, much higher than traditional Si solar cells. Hall Effect mobility measurements of the Ge layer in the Si/Ge/Si quantum well structure were performed to demonstrate the advantage in carrier mobility over a pure Si solar cell. Another application comes in the use of microelectromechanical devices technology, where high-resistivity Si is currently used as a substrate. Sapphire is a more resistive substrate and offers better performance via lower parasitic capacitance and higher film carrier mobility over the current Si-based technology.
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Adam J. Duzik, Yeonjoon Park, Sang H. Choi, "Towards rhombohedral SiGe epitaxy on 150mm c-plane sapphire substrates," Proc. SPIE 9434, Nanosensors, Biosensors, and Info-Tech Sensors and Systems 2015, 943412 (3 April 2015);