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Because MBE takes place in UHV and has relatively low pressure of residual gas at the surface, analysis techniques such as reflection high energy diffraction and ellipsometry can be used during growth, both to study and control the growth process. The UHV environment also allows pre or post growth analysis techniques such as Auger spectroscopy.

Elemental and molecular sources

The effusion cell is used for the majority of MBE growth. All materials used in the cell are carefully chosen to be noninteracting with the element being evaporated. For example, the crucible is pyrolitic boron nitride. However, it has disadvantages, such as:

  • The evaporated species may be molecular, rather than monomeric, which will require further dissocation at the surface.
  • When the shutter is opened, the heat loss from the cell results in a transient in the beam flux which last for several minutes and cause variations of up to 50%.
  • The growth chamber must be opened up to replace the solid sources.

Cracker cells are used to improve the ratio of monomeric to molecular (or at least dimeric to tetrameric) particles from the source. The cracker cell, placed so that the beam passes through it after the effusion cell, is maintained at a high temperature (and sometimes high pressure) to encourage dissociation. The dissociation process generally requires a catalyst and the best catalysts for a given species have been studied.

Some elements, such as silicon, have low enough vapor pressure that more direct heating techniques such as electron bombardment or laser radiation heating are used. The electron beam is bent using electromagnetic focusing to prevent any impurities in the electron source from contaminating the silicon to be used in MBE. Because the heat is concentrated on the surface to be evaporated, interactions with and contamination from the crucible walls is reduced. In addition, this design does not require a shutter, so there is no problem with transients. Modulation of the beam can produce very sharp interfaces on the substrate. In laser radiation heating, the electron beam is replaced by a laser beam. The advantages of localized heating and rapid modulation are also maintained without having to worry about contamination from the electron source or stray electrons.

Some of the II-VI (12-16) compounds have such high vapor pressure that a Knudson cell cannot be used. For example, the mercury source must be kept cooler than the substrate to keep the vapor pressure low enough to be feasible. The Hg source must also be sealed off from the growth chamber to allow the chamber to be pumped down.

Two other methods of obtaining the elements for use in epitaxy are gas-source epitaxy and chemical beam epitaxy (CBE). Both of these methods use gas sources, but they are distinguished by the use of elemental beams in gas source epitaxy, while organometallic beams are used in CBE. For the example of III-V (13-15) semiconductors, in gas epitaxy, the group III material may come from an effusion cell while the group V material is the hydride, such as AsH 3 or PH 3 , which is cracked before entering the growth chamber. In CBE, the group V material is an organometallic, such as triethylgallium [Ga(C 2 H 5 ) 3 ] or trimethylaluminum [Al(CH 3 ) 3 ], which adsorbs on the surface, where it dissociates.

Questions & Answers

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At high concentrations (>0.01 M), the relation between absorptivity coefficient and absorbance is no longer linear. This is due to the electrostatic interactions between the quantum dots in close proximity. If the concentration of the solution is high, another effect that is seen is the scattering of light from the large number of quantum dots. This assumption only works at low concentrations of the analyte. Presence of stray light.
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Source:  OpenStax, Chemistry of electronic materials. OpenStax CNX. Aug 09, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10719/1.9
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