Optically Allowed Photoluminescence from a Direct-Gap Si-Ge Superstructure on Si0.4Ge0.6
Photoluminescence (PL) spectra obtained at 6 K with excitation at 405 nm are shown in Fig. 1. Similar spectra were obtained with 458 nm excitation. No PL was detected from the two samples in the energy range 1000-1850 meV or at room temperature. The sharp drop at low energy near 700 meV is due to the cut-off in the instrumental response. A strong low-energy PL doublet is seen, with peaks near 780 and 820 meV, together with a much weaker peak at 872 meV. The ratio of intensities of the strong and weak peaks is the same in both samples. The intensities of all three PL peaks decrease with increasing temperature up to 25 K, but the weak peak decreases in intensity faster than that of the strong peaks. The weak peak at 872 meV is most likely the dipole-allowed direct-gap transition expected at 0.863 eV in the superstructure. The small difference in energy between theory and experiment could be the result of a difference in strain within the layer in the sample compared with the ideal (perfect) modeled structure or from assumptions in parameter values in the model. The strong peaks at 820 and 780 meV are assigned to the no-phonon and transverse-optic-phonon emission lines, respectively, of the Si0.4Ge0.6 buffer layer. The ~40 meV separation between the two strong peaks is characteristic of the phonon energies in SiGe alloys. The energies of the peaks, however, are much lower than that expected for a bulk Si0.4Ge0.6 alloy (~0.97 eV). The energies and general appearance of these peaks is reminiscent of what has been obtained from PL studies of SiGe nanostructures imbedded in Si. It is therefore likely that this PL arises predominately at the Si0.4Ge0.6/superstructure interface where there is type-II band alignment. In conclusion, we have obtained experimental evidence of the predicted direct-gap optically-allowed transition in a special supercell comprised of a number of ultrathin layers of Si and Ge.