Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Nano Express

Impact of N on the atomic-scale Sb distribution in quaternary GaAsSbN-capped InAs quantum dots

Daniel F Reyes1*, David González1, Jose M Ulloa2, David L Sales1, Lara Dominguez1, Alvaro Mayoral3 and Adrian Hierro2

Author affiliations

1 Departamento de Ciencia de los Materiales e IM y QI, Universidad de Cádiz, Puerto Real, Cádiz, 11510, Spain

2 Institute for Systems based on Optoelectronics and Microtechnology (ISOM) and Departamento Ingenieria Electronica, Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, Ciudad Universitaria s/n, Madrid, 28040, Spain

3 Laboratorio de Microscopías Avanzadas (LMA), Instituto de Nanociencia de Aragón(INA), Universidad de Zaragoza, Mariano Esquillor, Edificio I+D, Zaragoza, 50018, Spain

For all author emails, please log on.

Citation and License

Nanoscale Research Letters 2012, 7:653  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-7-653

Published: 27 November 2012


The use of GaAsSbN capping layers on InAs/GaAs quantum dots (QDs) has recently been proposed for micro- and optoelectronic applications for their ability to independently tailor electron and hole confinement potentials. However, there is a lack of knowledge about the structural and compositional changes associated with the process of simultaneous Sb and N incorporation. In the present work, we have characterized using transmission electron microscopy techniques the effects of adding N in the GaAsSb/InAs/GaAs QD system. Firstly, strain maps of the regions away from the InAs QDs had revealed a huge reduction of the strain fields with the N incorporation but a higher inhomogeneity, which points to a composition modulation enhancement with the presence of Sb-rich and Sb-poor regions in the range of a few nanometers. On the other hand, the average strain in the QDs and surroundings is also similar in both cases. It could be explained by the accumulation of Sb above the QDs, compensating the tensile strain induced by the N incorporation together with an In-Ga intermixing inhibition. Indeed, compositional maps of column resolution from aberration-corrected Z-contrast images confirmed that the addition of N enhances the preferential deposition of Sb above the InAs QD, giving rise to an undulation of the growth front. As an outcome, the strong redshift in the photoluminescence spectrum of the GaAsSbN sample cannot be attributed only to the N-related reduction of the conduction band offset but also to an enhancement of the effect of Sb on the QD band structure.

III-V quantum dots, GaAsSb; N incorporation; Sb distribution, Strain state; 73.21.La quantum dots; 78.55.Cr III-V semiconductors; 68.55.Ln defects and impurities: doping, implantation, distribution, concentration, etc.; 68.55.Nq composition and phase identification