Theses Doctoral

Artificial Graphene in Nano-patterned GaAs Quantum Wells and Graphene Growth by Molecular Beam Epitaxy

Wang, Sheng

In this dissertation I present advances in the studies of artificial lattices with honeycomb topology, called artificial graphene (AG), in nano-patterned GaAs quantum wells (QWs). AG lattices with very small lattice constants as low as 40 nm are achieved for the first time in GaAs. The high quality AG lattices are created by optimized electron-beam (E-beam) lithography followed by inductively coupled plasma reactive-ion etching (ICP-RIE) process. E-beam lithography is used to define a honeycomb lattice etch mask on the surface of the GaAs QW sample and the optimized anisotropic ICP-RIE process is developed to transfer the pattern into the sample and create the AG lattices. Such high-resolution AG lattices with small lattice constants are essential to form AG miniband structures and create well-developed Dirac cones.
Characterization of electron states in the nanofabricated artificial lattices is by optical experiments. Optical emission (photoluminescence) yields a determination of the Fermi energy of the electrons. A significant reduction of the Fermi energy is due to the nano-patterning process. Resonant inelastic light scattering (RILS) spectra reveal novel transitions related to the electron band structures of the AG lattices. These transitions exhibit a remarkable agreement with the predicted joint density of states (JDOS) based on the band structure calculation for the honeycomb topology.
I calculate the electron band structures of AG lattices in nano-patterned GaAs QWs using a periodic muffin-tin potential model. The evaluations predict linear energy-momentum dispersion and Dirac cones, where the massless Dirac fermions (MDFs) appear, occur in the band structures. Requirements of the parameters of the AG potential to achieve isolated and well-developed Dirac cones are discussed. Density of states (DOS) and JDOS from AG band structures are calculated, which provide a basis to interpret quantitatively observed transitions of electrons involving AG bands.
RILS of intersubband transitions reveal intriguing satellite peaks that are not present in the as-grown QWs. These additional peaks are interpreted as combined intersubband transitions with simultaneous change of QW subband and AG band index. The calculated JDOS for the electron transitions within the AG lattice model provide a remarkably accurate description of the combined intersubband excitations.
Novel low-lying excitation peaks in RILS spectra, interpreted as direct transitions between AG bands without change in QW subband, provide a more direct insight on the AG band structures. We discovered that RILS transitions around the Dirac cones are resonantly enhanced by varying the incident photon energies. The spectral lineshape of these transitions provides insights into the formation of Dirac cones that are characteristic of the honeycomb symmetry of the AG lattices. The results confirm the formation of AG miniband structures and well-developed Dirac cones. The realization of AG lattices in a nanofabricated high mobility semiconductor offers the advantage of tunability through methods suitable for device scalability and integration.
The last part of this thesis describes the growth of nanocrystalline single layer and bilayer graphene on sapphire substrates by molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) with a solid carbon source. Raman spectroscopy reveals that fabrication of single layer, bilayer or multilayer graphene crucially depends on MBE growth conditions. Etch pits revealed by atomic force microscopy indicate a removal mechanism of carbon by reduction of sapphire. Tuning the interplay between carbon deposition and its removal, by varying the incident carbon flux and substrate temperature, should enable the growth of high quality graphene layers on large area sapphire substrates.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics
Thesis Advisors
Pinczuk, Aron
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
September 21, 2016