High quality w-Mg<sub>x</sub>Zn<sub>1-x</sub>O thin films were grown epitaxially on c-plane sapphire substrates by plasma-assisted Molecular Beam Epitaxy. ZnO thin films with high crystalline quality, low defect and dislocation densities, and subnanometer surface roughness were achieved by applying a low temperature nucleation layer. By tuning Mg/Zn flux ratio, wurtzite Mg<sub>x</sub>Zn<sub>1-x</sub>O thin films with Mg composition as high as x=0.46 were obtained without phase segregation. Metal- Semiconductor-Metal (MSM) photoconductive and Schottky barrier devices with interdigitated electrode geometry and active surface area of 1 mm2 were fabricated and characterized. Resultant devices showed ~100 A/W peak responsivity at wavelength of ~260nm. We also report on cubic rock salt c-Mg<sub>x</sub>Zn<sub>1-x</sub>O thin films, following a non-traditional approach on MgO substrates, to demonstrate solar-blind photoresponse in MSM photodetectors, realizing a peak responsivity of 460 A/W (@ 250 nm) and 12.6 mA/W (@ 240nm) for mixed phase and single crystal films, respectively. A specific focus of the work is on identifying the impact of various growth parameters on the performance of the c- MgZnO detectors.
ZnO thin films were epitaxially grown on Zn-polar (0001) ZnO substrates by plasma-assisted molecular beam epitaxy. Surface root mean square (rms) roughness below 0.3 nm was achieved on a large range of growth temperatures by growing on ZnO substrates with 0.5 degree miscut angle toward [11¯00] axis. Surface treatment with acid etching and ozone exposure was required to remove contamination such as silica residual and carboxyl and carbonate groups on the surface. Removal of these surface impurities reduces the likelihood of extrinsic defect migration into the epitaxial films. High growth temperature (> 640°C) and oxygen rich conditions were required for films with terrace steps, but resulted in a very low growth rate (~30nm/h) and low photoluminescence (PL) lifetimes of lower than 50 ps. With moderate growth temperature (~610°C), higher growth rate and higher PL lifetime with up to 380 ps were achieved. EIT was used for the oxygen plasma to reduce reactive oxygen species etching of the surface, resulting in a higher growth rate and fewer defects in the films. Good crystalline quality was evident in Xray rocking curves with consistent narrow full width at half maximum (FWHM) of (0002), (101¯2) and (202¯1) peaks, indicating low threading dislocations. Both room-temperature and low-temperature photoluminescence indicated high optical quality of the resultant films with few non-radiative recombination centers.