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Mid-infrared top-gated Ge/Ge$_{0.82}$Sn$_{0.18}$ nanowire phototransistors

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posted on 2023-12-02, 17:00 authored by Lu Luo, Mahmoud RM Atalla, Simone Assali, Sebastian Koelling, Oussama Moutanabbir
Achieving high crystalline quality Ge$_{1-x}$Sn$_{x}$ semiconductors at Sn content exceeding 10\% is quintessential to implementing the long sought-after silicon-compatible mid-infrared photonics. Herein, by using sub-20 nm Ge nanowires as compliant growth substrates, Ge$_{1-x}$Sn$_{x}$ alloys with a Sn content of 18\% exhibiting a high composition uniformity and crystallinity along a few micrometers in the nanowire growth direction were demonstrated. The measured bandgap energy of the obtained Ge/Ge$_{0.82}$Sn$_{0.18}$ core/shell nanowires is 0.322 eV enabling the mid-infrared photodetection with a cutoff wavelength of 3.9 $\mu$m. These narrow bandgap nanowires were also integrated into top-gated field-effect transistors and phototransistors. Depending on the gate design, these demonstrated transistors were found to exhibit either ambipolar or unipolar behavior with a subthreshold swing as low as 228 mV/decade measured at 85 K. Moreover, varying the top gate voltage from -1 V to 5 V yields nearly one order of magnitude increase in the photocurrent generated by the nanowire phototransistor under a 2330 nm illumination. This study shows that the core/shell nanowire architecture with a super thin core not only mitigates the challenges associated with strain buildup observed in thin films but also provides a promising platform for all-group IV mid-infrared photonics and nanoelectronics paving the way toward sensing and imaging applications.

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