AIP Digital Archive
In this paper we present an optical method to control the geometry of buried layers in optoelectronic heterostructures. The technique uses an optical microscope equipped for infrared applications and relies on the fact that the different layers of the multilayer structure have different band gaps. Accordingly transmission/absorption, reflectance, and photoluminescence of the inidividual layers exhibit their characteristic near-band-gap spectral variations at different wavelengths. By appropriate selection of the wavelength range used for image formation, any layer of interest can be made visible. As an example we investigated a mushroom-type InGaAsP/InP 1500-nm laser structure with subsequent mass transport. Both technological steps, the formation of the mushroom by underetching, and the regrowth by mass transport represent critical processes in the fabrication of these index-guided lasers. Our results show clearly that the successful accomplishment of the process can be controlled by images of the selected buried layer. Contrast and resolution of the pictures are sufficient to show any irregularity in etching or regrowth. The main advantage of the method is that it offers the possibility of investigating whole wafers without sample preparation and in a nondestructive way, which is in marked contrast to observation with a scanning electron microscope, where only profiles along cleaved facets can be inspected.
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