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Towards van der Waals Epitaxial Growth of GaAs on Si using a Graphene Buffer Layer



Van der Waals growth of GaAs on silicon using a two-dimensional layered material, graphene, as a lattice mismatch/thermal expansion coefficient mismatch relieving buffer layer is presented. Two-dimensional growth of GaAs thin films on graphene is a potential route towards heteroepitaxial integration of GaAs on silicon in the developing field of silicon photonics. Hetero-layered GaAs is deposited by molecular beam epitaxy on graphene/silicon at growth temperatures ranging from 350 °C to 600 °C under a constant arsenic flux. Samples are characterized by plan-view scanning electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy, Raman microscopy, and X-ray diffraction. The low energy of the graphene surface and the GaAs/graphene interface is overcome through an optimized growth technique to obtain an atomically smooth low­ temperature GaAs nucleation layer. However, the low adsorption and migration energies of gallium and arsenic atoms on graphene result in cluster-growth mode during crystallization of GaAs films at an elevated temperature. In this paper, we present the first example of an ultrasmooth morphology for GaAs films with a strong (111) oriented fiber-texture on graphene/silicon using quasi van der Waals epitaxy, making it a remarkable step towards an eventual demonstration of the epitaxial growth of GaAs by this approach for heterogeneous integration.

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