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Published September 20, 2017 | Published
Journal Article Open

Growth of Epitaxial ZnSn_xGe_(1−x)N_2 Alloys by MBE


ZnSn_xGe_(1−x)N_2 alloys are chemically miscible semiconductor compounds with potential application as earth-abundant alternatives to In_xGa_(1−x)N. Preparation of ZnSn_xGe_(1−x)N_2 thin-films by reactive RF sputter deposition yield low-mobility, nanocrystalline films. In contrast, the growth of ZnSn_xGe_(1−x)N_2 films by molecular-beam epitaxy (MBE) on c-plane sapphire and GaN templates is described herein. Epitaxial films exhibited 3D growth on sapphire and 2D single-crystal quality on GaN, exhibiting substantial improvements in epitaxy and crystallinity relative to nanocrystalline sputtered films. Films on sapphire were n-type with electronic mobilities as high as 18 cm^2 V^(−1) s^(−1), an order of magnitude greater than the 2 cm^2 V^(−1) s^(−1) average mobility observed in this work for sputtered films. Mobility differences potentially arise from strain or surface effects originating from growth techniques, or from differences in film thicknesses. In general, MBE growth has provided desired improvements in electronic mobility, epitaxy, and crystal quality that provide encouragement for the continued study of ZnSn_xGe_(1−x)N_2 alloys.

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© 2017 The Author(s). This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. Received: 15 June 2017. Accepted: 06 September 2017. Published online: 20 September 2017. We gratefully acknowledge support from the Dow Chemical Company under the earth-abundant semiconductor project, the NSF-DOE Quantum Energy and Sustainable Solar Technologies Engineering Research Center, and the Molecular Materials Resource Center of the Beckman Institute at Caltech. We also acknowledge the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis and the Molecular Materials Resource Center of the Beckman Institute at Caltech for instrument access. The authors thank Bruce Brunschwig and Kimberly Papadantonakis for guidance, and Carol Garland for TEM assistance. Author Contributions: A.S. performed fabrication and measurements. Y.T. provided consultation. N.S.L. and H.A.A. were the PIs. All authors reviewed the manuscript. The authors declare that they have no competing interests. Publisher's note: Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

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