An understanding of the structural and optical properties of quantum dots (QDs) is critical for their use in optical communication devices. In this study, single- and multi-layer self-organized InAs QDs grown on (001) GaAs substrates by molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) were investigated. High-angle annular dark-field scanning transmission electron microscopy (HAADF-STEM) images show that the lateral size of multi-layer InAs QDs are larger and flatter than single-layer InAs QDs, which are oval-shaped. The change in shape and size may be attributed to the presence of InGaAs spacer layers in multi-layer InAs QDs. Reciprocal spacer mapping and fast Fourier transformation images clearly show that InGaAs spacer layers present in the multi-layer InAs QDs structures help to release the strain originally existing in the QDs. In addition, the photoluminescence peak of the multi-layer InAs QDs is broader than QD in the single-layer one, which implies that the multi-layer InAs QDs size variation is more random than the single-layer one and this corresponds with the HAADF-STEM images. These results prove that spacer layers release strain influencing the morphology and optical properties of the QDs.
- quantum dot; strain; scanning transmission electron microscopy; photoluminescence; reciprocal spacer mapping; fast Fourier transformation
- SELF-ORGANIZED GROWTH; GAAS