Erbium is incorporated in crystalline silicon during molecular beam epitaxy on Si(100) at 600 °C, either in vacuum (6x 10-11 mbar) or in an O2 ambient (4x 10-10 mbar). Strong Er segregation takes place during growth in vacuum, and only 23% of the total deposited Er is incorporated in the epitaxial layer. Films grown in an O2 ambient show no Er segregation, and an Er concentration of I.5 x 1019 Er/cm3 is incorporated in the crystal. The O content is 4x1019 O/cm3. Photoluminescence spectra taken at 10 K show the characteristic intra-4ƒ luminescence of Er3+ at 1.54 µm for both samples, grown with and without O2. Differences found in the spectral shape indicate a difference in the local environment (presumably O coordination) of Er for the two cases. The O codoped film shows a 7 times higher Er luminescence peak intensity than the film grown without O. This is due to the higher incorporated Er concentration as well as an increased luminescence efficiency (lifetime without O: 0.33 ms. with O: 1.81 ms). The Er excitation efficiency is lower in the O codoped film than in the O-undoped film, which is attributed to the lower minority carrier lifetime in the O-doped material. Thermal annealing of the O codoped film at 1000 °C increases the excitation efficiency and hence the Er luminescence intensity.

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Journal J. Appl. Phys.
Citation
Serna, R, Shin, J.H, Lohmeier, M, Vlieg, E, Polman, A, & Alkemade, P.F.A. (1996). Incorporation and optical activation of erbium in silicon using molecular beam epitaxy. J. Appl. Phys., 79, 2658–2662.