Growth and Characterization of β-Ga2O3 Thin Films by Molecular Beam Epitaxy for Deep-UV Photodetectors
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The growth of high quality epitaxial beta-gallium oxide (β-Ga2O3) using a compound source by molecular beam epitaxy has been demonstrated on c-plane sapphire (Al2O3) substrates. The compound source provides oxidized gallium molecules in addition to oxygen when heated from an iridium crucible in a high temperature effusion cell enabling a lower heat of formation for the growth of Ga2O3, resulting in a more efficient growth process. This source also enabled the growth of crystalline β-Ga2O3 without the need for additional oxygen. The influence of the substrate temperatures on the crystal structure and quality, chemical bonding, surface morphology, and optical properties has been systematically evaluated by x-ray diffraction, scanning transmission electron microscopy, x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, atomic force microscopy, spectroscopic ellipsometry, and UV-vis spectroscopy. Under optimized growth conditions, all films exhibited pure (201) oriented β-Ga2O3 thin films with six-fold rotational symmetry when grown on a sapphire substrate. The thin films demonstrated significant absorption in the deep-ultraviolet (UV) region with an optical bandgap around 5.0 eV and a refractive index of 1.9. A deep-UV photodetector fabricated on the high quality β-Ga2O3 thin film exhibits high resistance and small dark current (4.25 nA) with expected photoresponse for 254 nm UV light irradiation suggesting that the material grown using the compound source is a potential candidate for deep-ultraviolet photodetectors.