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Role of Liquid Indium in the Structural Purity of Wurtzite InAs Nanowires That Grow on Si(111)

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University of Siegen, Faculty of Science and Technology, Solid State Physics, 57072 Siegen, Germany
Paul-Drude-Institut für Festkörperelektronik, 10117 Berlin, Germany
§ Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf, Institute of Ion Beam Physics and Materials Research, 01328 Dresden, Germany
Quantum Beam Science Center, Japan Atomic Energy Agency, 1-1-1 Koto, Sayo-cho, Hyogo 679-5148, Japan
Cite this: Nano Lett. 2014, 14, 12, 6878–6883
Publication Date (Web):November 16, 2014
Copyright © 2014 American Chemical Society

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    Abstract Image

    InAs nanowires that grow catalyst-free along the [111] crystallographic orientation are prone to wurtzite-zincblende polytypism, making the control of the crystal phase highly challenging. In this work, we explore the dynamic relation between the growth conditions and the structural composition of the nanowires using time-resolved X-ray scattering and diffraction measurements during the growth by molecular beam epitaxy. A spontaneous buildup of liquid indium is directly observed in the beginning of the growth process and associated with the simultaneous nucleation of InAs nanowires predominantly in the wurtzite phase. The highly arsenic-rich growth conditions that we used limited the existence of the liquid indium to a short time interval, which is defined as the nucleation phase. After their nucleation, the nanowires grow in the absence of liquid indium, and with a highly defective wurtzite structure. Complementary ex-situ diffuse X-ray scattering measurements and modeling revealed that this structural degradation is due to the formation of densely spaced stacking faults. Thus, high wurtzite phase purity is associated with the presence of liquid indium. This finding implies that pure wurtzite nanowires may be obtained only if the growth is performed under the continuous presence of liquid indium at the growth interface, that is, in the vapor–liquid–solid mode.

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