The effect of laser-induced electronic excitations on the self-assembly of Ge quantum dots (QD) on Si(100)-(2x1) grown by pulsed laser deposition is studied. The experiment was conducted in ultrahigh vacuum. A Q-switched Nd:YAG laser (wavelength λ = 1064 nm, 10 Hz repetition rate) was split into two beams; one used to ablate a Ge target while the other to electronically excite the substrate. In situ reflection high-energy electron diffraction (RHEED) and ex situ atomic force microscopy (AFM) were used to study the morphology of the grown QDs. The dependence of the QD morphology on substrate temperature and ablation and excitation laser energy density was studied. Electronic excitation is shown to affect the surface morphology. For Ge coverage of 22 monolayer, it was observed that the excitation laser reduces the epitaxial growth temperature to 250 °C, a temperature at which no epitaxy is possible without excitation. Applying the excitation laser to the substrate during the growth changes the QD morphology and island density and improves the size uniformity of QDs at 390 °C. Surface diffusion measurement calculated from RHEED recovery curves show that the excitation-laser increases the surface diffusion of the Ge atoms. A purely electronic mechanism of enhanced surface diffusion of the Ge adatoms is involved.
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Er, A.O., Elsayed-Ali, H. Excitation-Induced Low Temperature Epitaxial Growth of Ge on Si(100). MRS Online Proceedings Library 1305, 1402 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1557/opl.2011.297