Effect of the AlAs capping layer thickness on the structure of InAs/GaAs QD


Recently, very thin AlAs capping layers (CLs) have been proposed as a useful tool to increase the performance of InAs/GaAs quantum dot (QDs) devices. However, the structure of QDs after AlAs deposition remains poorly understood and the mechanisms to explain it are often contradictory. In this work, the structural and compositional changes of InAs QDs using different AlAs CL thicknesses have been studied by state-of-the-art STEM-related techniques. First, the heights and In contents of InAs QDs progressively increase with the CL thickness, demonstrating that the AlAs capping produces a strong shielding effect against the decomposition of QDs. However, QD populations for CL thicknesses above 5 ML split into a bimodal distribution in which smaller lenticular QDs cohabit with bigger truncated pyramids. Second, the actual Al contents around the QDs are well below the nominal design, but increasing for thicker CLs. Its distribution is initially non-uniform, tending to accumulate on the flanks of the QDs to the detriment of the apex. Only for thicknesses above 2 ML the Al contents around the QDs start to be similar to those in the regions between the QDs, behaving as a continuous film without irregularities from 5 ML onwards. © 2021 The Author(s)The work has been co-financed by the Spanish National Research Agency (AEI projects MAT2016-77491-C2-2-R and PID2019-106088RB-C33), Regional Government of Andalusia (project FEDER-UCA18-108319) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)

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