3D mapping of nanoscale physical properties of VCSEL devices

Niblett, Andy and Mucientes, Marta and Shutts, Samuel and Forcieri, Leonardo and Jarvis, Samuel and Eddie, Iain and Meredith, W. and Haji, Mohsin and Smowton, Peter and Kolosov, Oleg (2021) 3D mapping of nanoscale physical properties of VCSEL devices. In: Semicronductor and Integrated Optoelectronics, SIOE'21, 2021-03-302021-04-01, Cardiff University, online.

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There is clear lack of methods that allows studies of the nanoscale structure of the VCSEL devices1 that are mainly focused on the roughness of the DBR, or using FIB cross-sectioning and TEM analysis of failed devices to observe the mechanism of the degradation. Here we present a recently developed advanced approach that combines Ar-ion nano-cross-sectioning with material sensitive SPM2 to reveal the internal structure of the VCSEL across the whole stack of top and bottom DBR including active area. We report for the first time the direct observation of local mechanical properties, electric potential and conductance through the 3D VCSEL stack. In order to achieve this, we use beam exit cross-section polishing that creates an oblique section with sub-nm surface roughness through the whole VCSEL structure that is fully suitable for the subsequent cross-sectional SPM (xSPM) studies. We used three different SPM measurement modes – nanomechanical local elastic moduli mapping via Ultrasonic Force Microscopy (UFM) 3, surface potential mapping via Kelvin Probe Force Microscopy (KPFM) and mapping of injected current (local conductivity) via Scanning Spreading Resistance Microscopy (SSRM). xSPM allowed to observe the resulting geometry of the whole device, including active cavity multiple quantum wells (MQW), to obtain profiles of differential doping of the DBR stack, profile of electric potential in the active cavity, and spatial variation of current injection in the individual QW in MQW area. Moreover, by applying forward bias to the VCSEL to initiate laser emission, we were able to observe distribution of the potential in the working regime, paving the way to understanding the 3D current flow in the complete device. Finally, we use finite element modelling (FEM) that confirm the experimental results that of the measurements of the local doping profiles and charge distribution in the active area of the VCSEL around the oxide current confinement aperture. While we show that the new xSPM methodology allowed advanced in-situ studies of VCSELs, it establishes a highly efficient characterisation platform for much broader area of compound semiconductor materials and devices. REFERENCES. 1. D. T. Mathes, R. Hull, K. Choquette, K. Geib, A. Allerman, J. Guenter, B. Hawkins and B. Hawthorne, in Vertical-Cavity Surface-Emitting Lasers Vii, edited by C. Lei and S. P. Kilcoyne (2003), Vol. 4994, pp. 67-82. 2. A. J. Robson, I. Grishin, R. J. Young, A. M. Sanchez, O. V. Kolosov and M. Hayne, Acs Applied Materials & Interfaces 5 (8), 3241-3245 (2013). 3. J. L. Bosse, P. D. Tovee, B. D. Huey and O. V. Kolosov, Journal of Applied Physics 115 (14), 144304 (2014).

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Semicronductor and Integrated Optoelectronics, SIOE'21
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23 Mar 2022 15:50
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11 May 2022 02:55