Catalyst-free MBE growth of PbSnTe nanowires with tunable aspect ratio

Mathijs G.C. Mientjes, Xin Guan (Corresponding author), Pim J.H. Lueb, Marcel A. Verheijen, Erik P.A.M. Bakkers (Corresponding author)

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Topological crystalline insulators (TCIs) are interesting for their topological surface states, which hold great promise for scattering-free transport channels and fault-tolerant quantum computing. A promising TCI is SnTe. However, Sn-vacancies form in SnTe, causing a high hole density, hindering topological transport from the surface being measured. This issue could be relieved by using nanowires with a high surface-to-volume ratio. Furthermore, SnTe can be alloyed with Pb reducing the Sn-vacancies while maintaining its topological phase. Here we present the catalyst-free growth of monocrystalline PbSnTe in molecular beam epitaxy. By the addition of a pre-deposition stage before the growth, we have control over the nucleation phase and thereby increase the nanowire yield. This facilitates tuning the nanowire aspect ratio by a factor of four by varying the growth parameters. These results allow us to grow specific morphologies for future transport experiments to probe the topological surface states in a Pb1-x Sn x Te-based platform.

Original languageEnglish
Article number325602
Number of pages8
Issue number32
Publication statusPublished - 5 Aug 2024


  • MBE
  • molecular beam epitaxy
  • nanowires
  • PbSnTe
  • TCI
  • topological crystalline insulator
  • vapor-solid growth


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