Zno, molecular beam epitaxy, homoepitaxy, znmgo, deep uv, photodetector, gradient structure, sol gel


Wide band gap semiconductors such as MgxZn1-xO represent an excellent choice for making optical photodetectors and emitters operating in the UV spectral region. High crystal and optical quality MgxZn1-xO thin films were grown epitaxially on c-plane sapphire substrates by plasma-assisted Molecular Beam Epitaxy. ZnO thin films with high crystalline quality, low defect and dislocation densities, and sub-nanometer surface roughness were achieved by applying a low temperature nucleation layer. The critical growth conditions were discussed to obtain a high quality film: the sequence of Zn and O sources for initial growth of nucleation layer, growth temperatures for both ZnO nucleation and growth layers, and Zn/O ratio. By tuning Mg/Zn flux ratio, wurtzite MgxZn1-xO thin films with Mg composition as high as x=0.46 were obtained without phase segregation. The steep optical absorption edges were shown with a cut-off wavelength as short as 278nm, indicating of suitability of such material for solar blind photo detectors. Consequently, Metal-Semiconductor-Metal photoconductive and Schottky barrier devices with interdigital electrode geometry and active surface area of 1 mm2 were fabricated and characterized. Photoconductor based on showed ~100 A/W peak responsivity at wavelength of ~260nm. ZnO homoepitaxial growth was also demonstrated which has the potential to achieve very low dislocation densities and high efficiency LEDs. Two types of Zn-polar ZnO substrates were chosen in this study: one with 0.5° miscut angle toward the [1-100] direction and the other iv without any miscut angle. We have demonstrated high quality films on both substrates with a low growth temperature (610°C) compared to most of other reported work on homoepitaxial growth. An atomically flat surface with one or two monolayer step height along the [0001] direction was achieved. By detail discussions about several impact factors for the epitaxial films, ZnO films with high crystallinity verified by XRD in different crystal orientations, high PL lifetime (~0.35 ns), and not obvious threading dislocations were achieved. Due to the difficulty of conventional p-type doping with p dopant, we have explored the possibility of p-type doping with the assistance of other novel method, i.e. polarization induced effect. The idea is the sheet layer of two dimensional hole gases (2DHG) caused by the wurtzite structure’s intrinsic polarization effect can be expanded to three dimension hole distribution by growing a MgZnO layer with a Mg concentration gradient. By simulation of LED structure with gradient MgZnO structure, the polarization effect was found not intense as that for III-nitrides because the difference of spontaneous polarization between ZnO and MgO is smaller than that of GaN and AlN, and the piezoelectric polarization effect may even cancel the spontaneous polarization induced effect. We have grown the linear gradient MgZnO structure with Mg composition grading from 0% to 43%, confirmed by SIMS. Hall measurement did not show any p-type conductivity, which further indicates MgZnO’s weak polarization doping effect. However, the gradient MgZnO layer could act as an electron blocking layer without blocking holes injected from p layer, which is useful for high efficiency light emitters.


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Graduation Date





Schoenfeld, Winston


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Optics and Photonics


Optics and Photonics

Degree Program

Optics and Photonics








Release Date

February 2014

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)


Dissertations, Academic -- Optics and Photonics, Optics and Photonics -- Dissertations, Academic