Current Issue
Volume 39, Issue 6, Jun 2018

    SPECIAL ISSUE ON Si-BASED MATERIALS AND DEVICES

  • Preface

    Chuanbo Li, Linwei Yu, Jinsong Xia

    Abstract PDF

              It has been well known that the development of microelectronic and integrated circuit (IC), mainly based on silicon materials, have changed the way of our life dramatically and accelerated the development and innovation of new technologies. With the increase of integration density in ICs, the gate lengths of transistors are now scaled down to 7 nm, leading to fundamental challenges to keep up with the Moore’s law. One possible solution is to integrate optical circuits into the Si microelectronic platform to achieve high density electronicphotonic integration. This will combine the advantages of photons in energy-efficient and high bandwidth data transmission with those of electrons in high-speed data processing and high performance logics. It will thereby overcome the interconnect bottleneck and achieve high functionality as an extension to Moore’s law. In this optoelectro integration system, monolithic integrated group IV lasers are of great interest. However, the indirect bandgap nature of crystalline silicon limits its application in optoelectronics. In recent years, many researchers have tried to use the nano-sized Si structure or introduce group IV alloys, such as Ge, GeSn or other compounds, to address the light source issue and establish all Si-based electronicphotonic ICs.

             In this special issue, we organized a focused discussion on the Si-based materials and devices. Our aim is to highlight remarkable contributions made by the leading scientists in this important research area and broad impacts of optoelectro integration. This special issue contains 9 review articles and 1 original research article. In this issue, we include the recent progress of SiGe, Ge and GeSn materials grown on Si, the light emitting of nanosized Si and its application, the graphene integrated Si photonic, the emerging technologies in Si active photonics and so on.

           We sincerely hope that this special issue could provide a valuable reference and perspective for the research community working in this exciting field and inspire many more to enter this field. We would like to thank all the authors who have contributed high-quality peer-reviewed articles to this special issue. We are also grateful to the editorial and production staff of Journal of Semiconductors for their superb assistance.


  • Emerging technologies in Si active photonics

    Xiaoxin Wang, Jifeng Liu

    J. Semicond. 2018, 39(6): 061001

    doi: 10.1088/1674-4926/39/6/061001

    Abstract Full Text PDF Get Citation

    Silicon photonics for synergistic electronic–photonic integration has achieved remarkable progress in the past two decades. Active photonic devices, including lasers, modulators, and photodetectors, are the key challenges for Si photonics to meet the requirement of high bandwidth and low power consumption in photonic datalinks. Here we review recent efforts and progress in high-performance active photonic devices on Si, focusing on emerging technologies beyond conventional foundry-ready Si photonics devices. For emerging laser sources, we will discuss recent progress towards efficient monolithic Ge lasers, mid-infrared GeSn lasers, and high-performance InAs quantum dot lasers on Si for data center applications in the near future. We will then review novel modulator materials and devices beyond the free carrier plasma dispersion effect in Si, including GeSi and graphene electro-absorption modulators and plasmonic-organic electro-optical modulators, to achieve ultralow power and high speed modulation. Finally, we discuss emerging photodetectors beyond epitaxial Ge p–i–n photodiodes, including GeSn mid-infrared photodetectors, all-Si plasmonic Schottky infrared photodetectors, and Si quanta image sensors for non-avalanche, low noise single photon detection and photon counting. These emerging technologies, though still under development, could make a significant impact on the future of large-scale electronicSilicon photonics for synergistic electronic-photonic integration has achieved remarkable progress in the past two decades. Active photonic devices, including lasers, modulators, and photodetectors, are the key challenges for Si photonics to meet the requirement of high bandwidth and low power consumption in photonic datalinks. Here we review recent efforts and progress in high-performance active photonic devices on Si, focusing on emerging technologies beyond conventional foundry-ready Si photonics devices. For emerging laser sources, we will discuss recent progress towards efficient monolithic Ge lasers, mid-infrared GeSn lasers, and high-performance InAs quantum dot lasers on Si for data center applications in the near future. We will then review novel modulator materials and devices beyond the free carrier plasma dispersion effect in Si, including GeSi and graphene electro-absorption modulators and plasmonic-organic electro–optical modulators, to achieve ultralow power and high speed modulation. Finally, we discuss emerging photodetectors beyond epitaxial Ge p–i–n photodiodes, including GeSn mid-infrared photodetectors, all-Si plasmonic Schottky infrared photodetectors, and Si quanta image sensors for non-avalanche, low noise single photon detection and photon counting. These emerging technologies, though still under development, could make a significant impact on the future of large-scale electronic–photonic integration with performance inaccessible from conventional Si photonics technologies-photonic integration with performance inaccessible from conventional Si photonics technologies.

  • Carrier transport mechanisms in semiconductor nanostructures and devices

    M. A. Rafiq

    J. Semicond. 2018, 39(6): 061002

    doi: 10.1088/1674-4926/39/6/061002

    Abstract Full Text PDF Get Citation

    Semiconductor nanostructures have gained importance due to their potential application in future nanoelectronic devices. For such applications, it is extremely important to understand the electrical properties of semiconductor nanostructures. This review presents an overview of techniques to measure the electrical properties of individual and clusters of semiconductor nanostructures using microcopy based techniques or by fabricating metallic electrical contacts using lithography. Then it is shown that current–voltage (I–V) characteristics can be used to determine the conduction mechanism in these nanostructures. It has been explained that various material parameters can be extracted from I–V characteristics. The frequently observed conduction mechanism in these nanostructures such as thermally activated conduction, space charge limited current (SCLC), hopping conduction, Poole Frenkel conduction, Schottky emission and Fowler Nordheim (FN) tunneling are explained in detail.

  • Dopant atoms as quantum components in silicon nanoscale devices

    Xiaosong Zhao, Weihua Han, Hao Wang, Liuhong Ma, Xiaoming Li, Wang Zhang, Wei Yan, Fuhua Yang

    J. Semicond. 2018, 39(6): 061003

    doi: 10.1088/1674-4926/39/6/061003

    Abstract Full Text PDF Get Citation

    Recent progress in nanoscale fabrication allows many fundamental studies of the few dopant atoms in various semiconductor nanostructures. Since the size of nanoscale devices has touched the limit of the nature, a single dopant atom may dominate the performance of the device. Besides, the quantum computing considered as a future choice beyond Moore's law also utilizes dopant atoms as functional units. Therefore, the dopant atoms will play a significant role in the future novel nanoscale devices. This review focuses on the study of few dopant atoms as quantum components in silicon nanoscale device. The control of the number of dopant atoms and unique quantum transport characteristics induced by dopant atoms are presented. It can be predicted that the development of nanoelectronics based on dopant atoms will pave the way for new possibilities in quantum electronics.

  • Controllable growth of GeSi nanostructures by molecular beam epitaxy

    Yingjie Ma, Tong Zhou, Zhenyang Zhong, Zuimin Jiang

    J. Semicond. 2018, 39(6): 061004

    doi: 10.1088/1674-4926/39/6/061004

    Abstract Full Text PDF Get Citation

    We present an overview on the recent progress achieved on the controllable growth of diverse GeSi alloy nanostructures by molecular beam epitaxy. Prevailing theories for controlled growth of Ge nanostructures on patterned as well as inclined Si surfaces are outlined firstly, followed by reviews on the preferential growth of Ge nanoislands on patterned Si substrates, Ge nanowires and high density nanoislands grown on inclined Si surfaces, and the readily tunable Ge nanostructures on Si nanopillars. Ge nanostructures with controlled geometries, spatial distributions and densities, including two-dimensional ordered nanoislands, three-dimensional ordered quantum dot crystals, ordered nanorings, coupled quantum dot molecules, ordered nanowires and nanopillar alloys, are discussed in detail. A single Ge quantum dot-photonic crystal microcavity coupled optical emission device demonstration fabricated by using the preferentially grown Ge nanoisland technique is also introduced. Finally, we summarize the current technology status with a look at the future development trends and application challenges for controllable growth of Ge nanostructures.

  • Research progress of Ge on insulator grown by rapid melting growth

    Zhi Liu, Juanjuan Wen, Chuanbo Li, Chunlai Xue, Buwen Cheng

    J. Semicond. 2018, 39(6): 061005

    doi: 10.1088/1674-4926/39/6/061005

    Abstract Full Text PDF Get Citation

    Ge is an attractive material for Si-based microelectronics and photonics due to its high carries mobility, pseudo direct bandgap structure, and the compatibility with complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) processes. Based on Ge, Ge on insulator (GOI) not only has these advantages, but also provides strong electronic and optical confinement. Recently, a novel technique to fabricate GOI by rapid melting growth (RMG) has been described. Here, we introduce the RMG technique and review recent efforts and progress in RMG. Firstly, we will introduce process steps of RMG. We will then review the researches which focus on characterizations of the GOI including growth dimension, growth mechanism, growth orientation, concentration distribution, and strain status. Finally, GOI based applications including high performance metal–oxide–semiconductor field effect transistors (MOSFETs) and photodetectors will be discussed. These results show that RMG is a promising technique for growth of high quality GOIs with different characterizations. The GOI grown by RMG is a potential material for the next-generation of integrated circuits and optoelectronic circuits.

  • Recent progress in GeSn growth and GeSn-based photonic devices

    Jun Zheng, Zhi Liu, Chunlai Xue, Chuanbo Li, Yuhua Zuo, Buwen Cheng, Qiming Wang

    J. Semicond. 2018, 39(6): 061006

    doi: 10.1088/1674-4926/39/6/061006

    Abstract Full Text PDF Get Citation

    The GeSn binary alloy is a new group IV material that exhibits a direct bandgap when the Sn content exceeds 6%. It shows great potential for laser use in optoelectronic integration circuits (OEIC) on account of its low light emission efficiency arising from the indirect bandgap characteristics of Si and Ge. The bandgap of GeSn can be tuned from 0.6 to 0 eV by varying the Sn content, thus making this alloy suitable for use in near-infrared and mid-infrared detectors. In this paper, the growth of the GeSn alloy is first reviewed. Subsequently, GeSn photodetectors, light emitting diodes, and lasers are discussed. The GeSn alloy presents a promising pathway for the monolithic integration of Si photonic circuits by the complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor (CMOS) technology.

  • Si nanocrystals-based multilayers for luminescent and photovoltaic device applications

    Peng Lu, Dongke Li, Yunqing Cao, Jun Xu, Kunji Chen

    J. Semicond. 2018, 39(6): 061007

    doi: 10.1088/1674-4926/39/6/061007

    Abstract Full Text PDF Get Citation

    Low dimensional Si materials have attracted much attention because they can be developed in many kinds of new-generation nano-electronic and optoelectronic devices, among which Si nanocrystals-based multilayered material is one of the most promising candidates and has been extensively studied. By using multilayered structures, the size and distribution of nanocrystals as well as the barrier thickness between two adjacent Si nanocrystal layers can be well controlled, which is beneficial to the device applications. This paper presents an overview of the fabrication and device applications of Si nanocrystals, especially in luminescent and photovoltaic devices. We first introduce the fabrication methods of Si nanocrystals-based multilayers. Then, we systematically review the utilization of Si nanocrystals in luminescent and photovoltaic devices. Finally, some expectations for further development of the Si nanocrystals-based photonic and photovoltaic devices are proposed.

  • Light-emitting diodes based on colloidal silicon quantum dots

    Shuangyi Zhao, Xiangkai Liu, Xiaodong Pi, Deren Yang

    J. Semicond. 2018, 39(6): 061008

    doi: 10.1088/1674-4926/39/6/061008

    Abstract Full Text PDF Get Citation

    Colloidal silicon quantum dots (Si QDs) hold great promise for the development of printed Si electronics. Given their novel electronic and optical properties, colloidal Si QDs have been intensively investigated for optoelectronic applications. Among all kinds of optoelectronic devices based on colloidal Si QDs, QD light-emitting diodes (LEDs) play an important role. It is encouraging that the performance of LEDs based on colloidal Si QDs has been significantly increasing in the past decade. In this review, we discuss the effects of the QD size, QD surface and device structure on the performance of colloidal Si-QD LEDs. The outlook on the further optimization of the device performance is presented at the end.

  • Silicon-graphene photonic devices

    Yanlong Yin, Jiang Li, Yang Xu, Hon Ki Tsang, Daoxin Dai

    J. Semicond. 2018, 39(6): 061009

    doi: 10.1088/1674-4926/39/6/061009

    Abstract Full Text PDF Get Citation

    Silicon photonics has attracted much attention because of the advantages of CMOS (complementary-metal-oxide-semiconductor) compatibility, ultra-high integrated density, etc. Great progress has been achieved in the past decades. However, it is still not easy to realize active silicon photonic devices and circuits by utilizing the material system of pure silicon due to the limitation of the intrinsic properties of silicon. Graphene has been regarded as a promising material for optoelectronics due to its unique properties and thus provides a potential option for realizing active photonic integrated devices on silicon. In this paper, we present a review on recent progress of some silicon-graphene photonic devices for photodetection, all-optical modulation, as well as thermal-tuning.

  • Ammonia sensing using arrays of silicon nanowires and graphene

    K. Fobelets, C. Panteli, O. Sydoruk, Chuanbo Li

    J. Semicond. 2018, 39(6): 063001

    doi: 10.1088/1674-4926/39/6/063001

    Abstract Full Text PDF Get Citation

    Ammonia (NH3) is a toxic gas released in different industrial, agricultural and natural processes. It is also a biomarker for some diseases. These require NH3 sensors for health and safety reasons. To boost the sensitivity of solid-state sensors, the effective sensing area should be increased. Two methods are explored and compared using an evaporating pool of 0.5 mL NH4OH (28% NH3). In the first method an array of Si nanowires (Si NWA) is obtained via metal-assisted-electrochemical etching to increase the effective surface area. In the second method CVD graphene is suspended on top of the Si nanowires to act as a sensing layer. Both the effective surface area as well as the density of surface traps influences the amplitude of the response. The effective surface area of Si NWAs is 100 × larger than that of suspended graphene for the same top surface area, leading to a larger response in amplitude by a factor of ~7 notwithstanding a higher trap density in suspended graphene. The use of Si NWAs increases the response rate for both Si NWAs as well as the suspended graphene due to more effective NH3 diffusion processes.

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