Layer intermixing and related long-term instability in heavily carbon-doped AlGaAs/GaAs superlattices

I. Szafranek, M. Szafranek, J. S. Major, B. T. Cunningham, L. J. Guido, N. Holonyak, G. E. Stillman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Superlattices (SLs) of Alo.3Gao.7As/GaAs grown by metalorganic chemical vapor deposition and heavily doped with carbon using CClp4 were annealed for 24 h at 825° C under a variety of ambient and surface encapsulation conditions. Photoluminescence at T = 1.7 K has been employed to determine approximate Al-Ga interdiffusion coefficients (D Ai-Ga) for different annealing conditions. For all encapsulants studied D Al-Ga increases with increasing As4 pressure in the annealing ampoule. This result disagrees with trends reported for Mg-doped crystals, and with predictions of the charged point-defect (Fermilevel) model. The Si3N4 cap provides the most effecitve surface sealing against ambientstimulated layer interdiffusion (D Al-Ga ≈ 1.5-3.9 x 10-19 cm2/sec). The most extensive layer intermixing has occurred for an uncapped SL annealed under As-rich ambient (D Al-Ga ≈ 3.3 x 10-18 cm2/sec). These values are up to ~40 times greater than those previously reported for nominally undoped AIGaAs/GaAs SLs, implying that the C As doping slightly enhances layer intermixing, but significantly less than predicted by the Fermi-level effect. The discrepancies between the experimental data and the model are discussed. Pronounced changes in the optical properties of the annealed SLs with storage time at room temperature are also reported. These changes may indicate a degraded thermal stability of the annealed crystals due to high-temperature-induced lattice defects. A possibly related effect of the systematic failure to fabricate buried heterostructure quantum well lasers via impurity-induced layer disordering in similarly doped AIGaAs/GaAs crystals is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)409-418
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Electronic Materials
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1991


  • AIGaAs/GaAs
  • carbon doping
  • layer interdiffusion
  • superlattice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Layer intermixing and related long-term instability in heavily carbon-doped AlGaAs/GaAs superlattices'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this