Germanium on silicon photonic devices

Gallacher, Kevin (2013) Germanium on silicon photonic devices. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

Full text available as:
Download (6MB) | Preview
Printed Thesis Information:


There is presently increased interest in using germanium (Ge) for both electronic and optical devices on top of silicon (Si) substrates to expand the functionality of Si technology. It has been extremely difficult to form an Ohmic contact to n-Ge due to Fermi level pinning just above the Valence band. A low temperature nickel process has been developed that produces Ohmic contacts to n-Ge with a specific contact resistivity of , which to date is a record. The low contact resistivity is attributed to the low resistivity NiGe phase, which was identified using electron diffraction in a transmission electron microscope. Light emission from Ge light emitting diodes (LEDs) was investigated. Ge is an indirect bandgap semiconductor but the difference in energy between the direct and indirect is small (~136 meV), through a combination of n-type doping and tensile strain, the band structure can be engineered to produce a more direct bandgap material. A silicon nitride (Si3N4) process has been developed that imparts tensile strain into the Ge. The stress in the Si3N4 film can be controlled by the RF power used during the plasma enhanced chemical vapour deposition. LEDs covered with Si3N4 stressors were characterised by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. Electroluminescence characterisation (EL) revealed that the peak position of the direct and indirect radiative transitions did not vary with the Si3N4 stressors due to the device geometries being too large. Therefore, nanostructures consisting of pillars smaller than a micron were investigated. Photoluminescence characterisation of 100 nm Ge pillars with Si3N4 stressors show emission at much longer wavelengths compared to bulk Ge (> 2.2 μm). In addition, the EL from Ge quantum wells grown on Si was also investigated. EL characterisation demonstrates two peaks around 1.55 and 1.8 μm, which corresponds to the radiative recombination between the direct and indirect transitions, respectively. This result is the first demonstration of EL above 1.45 μm for Ge quantum wells. Finally, the fabrication of Ge-on-Si single-photon avalanche detectors are presented. A single-photon detection efficiency of 4 % at 1310 nm wavelength was measured at low temperature (100 K). The devices have the lowest reported noise equivalent power for a Ge-on-Si single-photon avalanche detector (1×10-14 WHz-1/2).

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Germanium, silicon, Ohmic-contacts, LEDs, SiN stressors, SPADs.
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Electronics and Nanoscale Engineering
Supervisor's Name: Paul, Professor Douglas J.
Date of Award: 2013
Depositing User: Mr Kevin Gallacher
Unique ID: glathesis:2013-4994
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 16 May 2014 14:59
Last Modified: 16 May 2014 15:14

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year