Fabrication and Electrical Characterisation of Quantum Dots: Uniform Size Distributions and the Observation of Unusual Electrical Characteristics and Metastability

  • Daniel James

Student thesis: Phd


Quantum dots (QDs) are a semiconductor nanostructure in which a small island of one type of semiconductor material is contained within a larger bulk of a different one. These structure are interesting for a wide range of applications, including highly efficient LASERs, high-density novel memory devices, quantum computing and more.In order to understand the nature of QDs, electrical characterisation techniques such as capacitance-voltage (CV) profiling and deep-level transient spectroscopy (DLTS) are used to probe the nature of the carrier capture and emission processes. This is limited, however, by the nature of QD formation which results in a spread of sizes which directly affects the energy structure of the QDs. In this work, I sought to overcome this by using Si substrates patterned with a focused ion beam (FIB) to grow an array of identically-sized Ge dots. Although I was ultimately unsuccessful, I feel this approach has great merit for future applications.In addition, this thesis describes several unusual characteristics observed in InAs QDs in a GaAs bulk (grown by molecular beam epitaxy-MBE). Using conventional and Laplace DLTS, I have been able to isolate a single emission transient. I further show an inverted relation between the emission rate and the temperature under high field (emissions increase at lower temperatures). I attribute this to a rapid capture to and emission from excited states in the QD. In addition, I examine a metastable charging effect that results from the application of a sustained reverse bias and decreases the apparent emission rate from the dots. I believe this to be the result of a GaAs defect with a metastable state which acts as a screen, inhibiting emission from the dots due to an accumulation of charge in the metastable state.These unusual characteristics of QDs require further intensive work to fully understand. In this work I have sought to describe the phenomena fully and to provide hypotheses as to their origin.
Date of Award1 Aug 2011
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorBruce Hamilton (Supervisor)


  • Laplace DLTS
  • FIB
  • Metastable
  • Patterned growth
  • Electron emission
  • Deep level transient spectroscopy
  • CV
  • Focused Ion Beam
  • Quantum dots
  • QD
  • Si
  • DTLS
  • GaAs
  • InAs
  • Ge

Cite this