He-Ion Microscopy as a High-Resolution Probe for Complex Quantum Heterostructures in Core-Shell Nanowires

Christian Pöpsel, Jonathan Becker, Nari Jeon, Markus Döblinger, Thomas Stettner, Yeanitza Trujillo Gottschalk, Bernhard Loitsch, Sonja Matich, Marcus Altzschner, Alexander W. Holleitner, Jonathan J. Finley, Lincoln J. Lauhon, Gregor Koblmüller

Publikation: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftArtikelBegutachtung

12 Zitate (Scopus)


Core-shell semiconductor nanowires (NW) with internal quantum heterostructures are amongst the most complex nanostructured materials to be explored for assessing the ultimate capabilities of diverse ultrahigh-resolution imaging techniques. To probe the structure and composition of these materials in their native environment with minimal damage and sample preparation calls for high-resolution electron or ion microscopy methods, which have not yet been tested on such classes of ultrasmall quantum nanostructures. Here, we demonstrate that scanning helium ion microscopy (SHeIM) provides a powerful and straightforward method to map quantum heterostructures embedded in complex III-V semiconductor NWs with unique material contrast at ∼1 nm resolution. By probing the cross sections of GaAs-Al(Ga)As core-shell NWs with coaxial GaAs quantum wells as well as short-period GaAs/AlAs superlattice (SL) structures in the shell, the Al-rich and Ga-rich layers are accurately discriminated by their image contrast in excellent agreement with correlated, yet destructive, scanning transmission electron microscopy and atom probe tomography analysis. Most interestingly, quantitative He-ion dose-dependent SHeIM analysis of the ternary AlGaAs shell layers and of compositionally nonuniform GaAs/AlAs SLs reveals distinct alloy composition fluctuations in the form of Al-rich clusters with size distributions between ∼1-10 nm. In the GaAs/AlAs SLs the alloy clustering vanishes with increasing SL-period (>5 nm-GaAs/4 nm-AlAs), providing insights into critical size dimensions for atomic intermixing effects in short-period SLs within a NW geometry. The straightforward SHeIM technique therefore provides unique benefits in imaging the tiniest nanoscale features in topography, structure and composition of a multitude of diverse complex semiconductor nanostructures.

Seiten (von - bis)3911-3919
FachzeitschriftNano Letters
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 13 Juni 2018


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