The III-V semiconductor InGaAs is a key material for photonics because it provides optical emission and absorption in the 1.55 μm telecommunication wavelength window. However, InGaAs suffers from pronounced nonradiative effects associated with its surface states, which affect the performance of nanophotonic devices for optical interconnects, namely nanolasers and nanodetectors. This work reports the strong suppression of surface recombination of undoped InGaAs/InP nanostructured semiconductor pillars using a combination of ammonium sulfide, (NH4)2S, chemical treatment and silicon oxide, SiOx, coating. An 80-fold enhancement in the photoluminescence (PL) intensity of submicrometer pillars at a wavelength of 1550 nm is observed as compared with the unpassivated nanopillars. The PL decay time of ∼0.3 μm wide square nanopillars is dramatically increased from ∼100 ps to ∼25 ns after sulfur treatment and SiOx coating. The extremely long lifetimes reported here, to our knowledge the highest reported to date for undoped InGaAs nanostructures, are associated with a record-low surface recombination velocity of ∼260 cm/s. We also conclusively show that the SiOx capping layer plays an active role in the passivation. These results are crucial for the future development of high-performance nanoscale optoelectronic devices for applications in energy-efficient data optical links, single-photon sensing, and photovoltaics.
- surface passivation
- surface recombination velocity