Direct Electrical Probing of Periodic Modulation of Zinc-Dopant Distributions in Planar Gallium Arsenide Nanowires

W.Choi , E. Seabron, P. K. Mohseni, J. D. Kim, T. Gokus, A. Cernescu, P. Pochet, H. T. Johnson, W. L. Wilson, and X. Li

ACS Nano 11 (2), 1530-1539 (2017)
Selective lateral epitaxial (SLE) semiconductor nanowires (NWs), with their perfect in-plane epitaxial alignment, ability to form lateral complex p–n junctions in situ, and compatibility with planar processing, are a distinctive platform for next-generation device development. However, the incorporation and distribution of impurity dopants in these planar NWs via the vapor−liquid−solid growth mechanism remain relatively unexplored. Here, we present a detailed study of SLE planar GaAs NWs containing multiple alternating axial segments doped with Si and Zn impurities by metalorganic chemical vapor deposition. The dopant profile of the lateral multi-p–n junction GaAs NWs was imaged simultaneously with nanowire topography using scanning microwave impedance microscopy and correlated with infrared scattering-type near-field optical microscopy. Our results provide unambiguous evidence that Zn dopants in the periodically twinned and topologically corrugated p-type segments are preferentially segregated at twin plane boundaries, while Si impurity atoms are uniformly distributed within the n-type segments of the NWs. These results are further supported by microwave impedance modulation microscopy. The density functional theory based modeling shows that the presence of Zn dopant atoms reduces the formation energy of these twin planes, and the effect becomes significantly stronger with a slight increase of Zn concentration. This implies that the twin formation is expected to appear when a threshold planar concentration of Zn is achieved, making the onset and twin periodicity dependent on both Zn concentration and nanowire diameter, in perfect agreement with our experimental observations.