We report on high quality GaAs-on-Si layers with low threading dislocations obtained by a combination of nucleation layer and dislocation filter layers using the molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) growth method. As a result, we achieved a Si-based electrically pumped 1.3 μm InAs/GaAs quantum dot (QD) laser that lases up to 111°C with a lasing threshold of 200 A/cm2, and a single facet output power exceeding 100 mW at room temperature. In addition to Si-based lasers, we also demonstrated the first Si-based InAs/GaAs QD superluminescent light-emitting diode (SLD), from which a close-to-Gaussian emission with a full width at half maximum (FWHM) of ~114 nm centered at ~1258 nm and maximum output power of 2.6 mW has been achieved.
Lattice-mismatched 1.7eV Al0.2Ga0.8As photovoltaic solar cells have been monolithically grown on Si substrates using Solid Source Molecular Beam Epitaxy (SSMBE). As a consequence of the 4%-lattice-mismatch, threading dislocations (TDs) nucleate at the interface between the Si substrate and III-V epilayers and propagate to the active regions of the cell. There they act as recombination centers and degrade the performances of the cell. In our case, direct AlAs/GaAs superlattice growth coupled with InAlAs/AlAs strained layer superlattice (SLS) dislocation filter layers (DFLSs) have been used to reduce the TD density from 1×109cm-2 to 1(±0.2)×107cm-2. Lattice-matched Al0.2Ga0.8As cells have also been grown on GaAs as a reference. The best cell grown on silicon exhibits a Voc of 964mV, compared with a Voc of 1128mV on GaAs. Fill factors of respectively 77.6% and 80.2% have been calculated. Due to the lack of an anti-reflection coating and the non-optimized architecture of the devices, relatively low Jsc have been measured: 7.30mA.cm-2 on Si and 6.74mA.cm-2 on GaAs. The difference in short-circuit currents is believed to be caused by a difference of thickness between the samples due to discrepancies in the calibration of the MBE prior to each growth. The bandgap-voltage offset of the cells, defined as Eg/q-Voc, is relatively high on both substrates with 736mV measured on Si versus 572mV on GaAs. The non-negligible TD density partly explains this result on Si. On GaAs, non-ideal growth conditions are possibly responsible for these suboptimal performances.
We introduce the concept of using strained superlattice structures as defect filters, with their purpose to reduce the upwards propagation of dislocations that result from the lattice mismatch which occurs when III-V materials are grown on silicon substrates. Three samples with defect filter layers are grown on Si with and without in situ annealing and are compared to a similar structure grown on a GaAs substrate. Transmission electron microscopy is used to verify the effectiveness of the different designs grown on Si, with the twice-annealed sample reducing the number of defects present in the active region by 99.9%. Optical studies carried out exhibit brighter room temperature emission and reduced photoluminescence quenching with temperature in samples where annealing is performed. Photoluminescence excitation measurements reveal a ~20 meV redshift in the position of the GaAs exciton for the samples grown on Si compared to that of GaAs, indicating a residual inplane tensile strain ~0.35% in the GaAs of the active region for the samples grown on Si.