Integration of Multi-Functional Oxide Thin Film Heterostructures with III-V Semiconductors

Rahman, MD Shafiqur
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Integration of multi-functional oxide thin films with semiconductors has attracted considerable attention in recent years due to their potential applications in sensing and logic functionalities that can be incorporated in future system-on-a-chip devices. III-V semiconductor, for example, GaAs, have higher saturated electron velocity and mobility allowing transistors based on GaAs to operate at a much higher frequency with less noise compared to Si. In addition, because of its direct bandgap a number of efficient optical devices are possible and by oxide integrating with other III-V semiconductors the wavelengths can be made tunable through hetero-engineering of the bandgap. This study, based on the use of SrTiO<sub>3</sub> (STO) films grown on GaAs (001) substrates by molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) as an intermediate buffer layer for the hetero-epitaxial growth of ferromagnetic La<sub>0.7</sub>Sr<sub>0.3</sub>MnO<sub>3</sub> (LSMO) and room temperature multiferroic BiFeO<sub>3</sub> (BFO) thin films and superlattice structures using pulsed laser deposition (PLD). The properties of the multilayer thin films in terms of growth modes, lattice spacing/strain, interface structures and texture were characterized by the in-situ reflection high energy electron diffraction (RHEED). The crystalline quality and chemical composition of the complex oxide heterostructures were investigated by a combination of X-ray diffraction (XRD) and X-ray photoelectron absorption spectroscopy (XPS). Surface morphology, piezo-response with domain structure, and ferroelectric switching observations were carried out on the thin film samples using a scanning probe microscope operated as a piezoresponse force microscopy (PFM) in the contact mode. The magnetization measurements with field cooling exhibit a surprising increment in magnetic moment with enhanced magnetic hysteresis squareness. This is the effect of exchange interaction between the antiferromagnetic BFO and the ferromagnetic LSMO at the interface. The integration of BFO materials with LSMO on GaAs substrate also facilitated the demonstration of resistive random access memory (ReRAM) devices which can be faster with lower energy consumption compared to present commercial technologies. Ferroelectric switching observations using piezoresponse force microscopy show polarization switching demonstrating its potential for read-write operation in NVM devices. The ferroelectric and electrical characterization exhibit strong resistive switching with low SET/RESET voltages. Furthermore, a prototypical epitaxial field effect transistor based on multiferroic BFO as the gate dielectric and ferromagnetic LSMO as the conducting channel was also demonstrated. The device exhibits a modulation in channel conductance with high ON/OFF ratio. The measured nanostructure and physical-compositional results from the multilayer are correlated with their corresponding dielectric, piezoelectric, and ferroelectric properties. These results provide an understanding of the heteroepitaxial growth of ferroelectric (FE)-antiferromagnetic (AFM) BFO on ferromagnetic LSMO as a simple thin film or superlattice structure, integrated on STO buffered GaAs (001) with full control over the interface structure at the atomic-scale. This work also represents the first step toward the realization of magnetoelectronic devices integrated with GaAs (001).
Functional oxide, Multiferroics, Integration with semiconductor, Magnetoelectric random access memory, Resistive random access memory
Rahman, M.D. S. (2017). <i>Integration of multi-functional oxide thin film heterostructures with III-V semiconductors</i> (Unpublished dissertation). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.